New to MyWoodlot and not sure where to begin? Try these activity lists specifically chosen by our team as good “beginner” projects.
For areas overrun with invasive plants, a strange but surprisingly effective technique is to rent goats. The goat farmer sets up portable fencing around the treatment area, and you pay by the day to let goats chomp through the invasives.
Your woodlot is more than a retreat from the fast-paced modern world. It's also an escape from the bight city lights that obscure the heavens. Pick a clear, moonless night and enjoy the show.
Woodlots have lots of kinds of trees. Install low-cost tree ID signs along your trails to educate you and your family about the remarkable diversity on your land.
Our lives are so busy that we rarely slow down to appreciate what's around us. In a five senses hike, you'll slowly walk your trails and stop occasionally to explore what you're seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and even tasting. This is a great activity to do with kids.
If you want to make maple syrup just for personal use, consider the turkey fryer-and-stovetop method over large equipment.
Deer are what’s known as a “keystone species,” meaning they have a major impact on the woods. Understanding the changes deer cause to a woodlot is the first step in learning how to live with them.
When you're at your home or cabin in the woods, you don't want to be reminded of civilization. Planting trees between your home and roads or neighbors can give your property a more secluded feel.
In the long term, the only way to keep invasive plants at bay is to make sure you have healthy native plants growing. If you’ve just controlled invasive plants in an area, planting some natives from a nursery can help them get a jumpstart on resprouting invasives.
If you just finished your invasive inventory, you may feel overwhelmed with the number of invasive plants on your land. Rather than try to deal with them all at once, focus your efforts to get the best chance of success.
Pull it by hand? Mow it? Spray it? Different invasive plants require different control techniques. Before you put in a ton of work, figure out the best techniques for the plant you’re dealing with.
In a perfect world, what would you want to see happen with your land when you're no longer around to take care of it? Write these wishes down, then share them with a spouse or the rest of your family.
In this activity, you’ll use air-dry clay to perfectly preserve the veins and shapes of a leaf in the form of a small, shallow bowl.
Even with protection, newly planted trees need your tender loving care to help them survive. Use the information in this activity to help give your trees the best chance for long-term success.
Seeing wildlife on your woodlot is more than fun; it can also be a way to protect those animals in the future. These websites let you share your wildlife sightings with others and help scientists learn how our critter neighbors are doing.
Asian longhorned beetle is an invasive insect that kills many kinds of trees, including maples. Discover how to identify these beetles and the signs they leave behind.
The first step in caring for your streamside area is to understand what and where they are.
Nature centers often mark their trails to help hikers get around. You can do the same thing on your woodlot. Blazes give your trails a professional look and aid your travel around your land.
Land surveys can be expensive, but they're helpful if you're concerned about neighbors encroaching on your land or of timber theft. They're also important if you want to build a new structure, install a fence, or just know where your boundaries are so you can mark them.
Young woods don’t stay young. Old fields and shrublands gradually give way to older forest. You can maintain these important habitats with periodic mowing and brush hogging.
Even small measures can make a big difference in keeping invasives off your land. Try to incorporate these simple steps into daily life on your woodlot.
Spending relaxing time in the woods, sometimes called shinrin yoku or forest bathing, is a proven way to reduce stress, improve mood, and lower blood pressure.
There's no substitute for in-person gatherings on the family land. Getting your family outside and walking together lets each person reflect on what your land means to them.
Clean out your Best Management Practices annually to keep them working. This maintenance often avoids the need for costly heavy equipment later on.
Emerald ash borer is considered the most devastating invasive insect in North American forests. It attacks ash trees. Discover how to identify these dangerous insects and the signs they leave behind.
New York's bluebird population has dropped 90% due to pesticides, shortage of natural nesting cavities, and competition from sparrows and starlings. You can help! Install a bluebird nesting box on your woodlot so these colorful songbirds can raise their families.
Young trees, both newly planted and naturally growing, will benefit from protection from deer. Deer protection can be as wide-ranging as fencing off an area of your woodlot or as specific as tubing individual trees.
Once you know how to spot common and emerging invasive plants, you can head out to your land to try to locate them.
Free aerial photos and topographic maps can reveal a lot about your property, and a simple hike can turn into a natural history lesson when you can read the woods.
Nature journaling will help you hone your nature observation skills and keep track of what you experience in your woods. Don’t worry if you aren’t a writer, artist, or naturalist; you can still keep a great nature journal.
Once you install your rain garden, you aren’t done. Maintenance plays an important role in ensuring the garden’s long-term health and usefulness.
Create your own nature-themed fabrics for a variety of sewing projects using this kid-friendly technique.
Appropriately marked property lines are the best defense against trespassing and timber theft, and they reduce boundary disputes with neighbors. Painting your boundaries is a relatively inexpensive, visible way to mark your property line without injuring your trees.
Birds can be some of the hardest nature subjects to photograph. They’re small, fast, and fly away when you approach. With practice and these tips, you can take great bird photos even if you don’t have a gigantic lens.
Trees mark the changing seasons, protect our water, and clean our air. You can figure out which tree is which by spotting differences in leaves, bark, and even where a tree is growing.
Planting a tree isn’t as simple as digging a hole. Proper planting technique can mean the difference between life and death for a baby tree.
The best way to help pollinators is to provide more of the food that they need to survive. Native plants can support hundreds more species of pollinators than non-native ornamentals, so as much as possible, incorporate native plants into your garden and landscaping.
Animals have better senses than we do, and they can be skittish when they know a human is nearby. A well-placed trail camera can take pictures of elusive wildlife without you needing to be there.
The Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative provides landowners along streams in the New York City Watershed with assistance and financial support to protect streams from damage.
Just as people start going to bed, your woodlot is waking up. Many animals are only active at night. Sit outside with your ears open, and you might surprise yourself with what you hear.
Scenic views. Burbling streams. Old stone walls. Check out these special places on other woodlots to get some fresh ideas for your own.
Almost all wildlife encounters that end in human injury or death are caused by human actions. Protect yourself by knowing what to do when a wild animal gets too close.
Lyme disease is the most well-known tick-borne illness, but it isn’t the only one. Discover why it’s so important to be aware of ticks and how to prevent them from making you sick.
Hemlock wooly adelgid attacks hemlock trees, which commonly grow on steep slopes near streams. Discover how to identify this insect and the signs they leave behind.
Sometimes you won't be able to identify a tree or plant on the spot. Other times you may want to keep a leaf or flower to appreciate later. A plant press preserves leaves, twigs, flowers and buds so you can look at them whenever you want.
You don’t need to consider yourself a writer to find relaxation in expression. Find a place to sit and see what thoughts flow.
Your woodlot is a great place to bond with your family. A picnic is a fun, easy way to create some family memories and expose your kids or grandkids to nature.
The United States Geological Survey has been creating maps since 1884, and they're all available online for free.
The best way to learn about the life on your woodlot is get out there and see it for yourself. Learn what to look for, where to find it, and how to increase your chances of seeing it.
Wild apple trees are an important food for wildlife, but overcrowding within a tree and between neighboring trees can reduce the number of apples they produce. Prune branches and clear around wild apple trees to help them grow more fruit.
Invasive plants are always on the move. Learning to identify these invasives that aren’t common yet—but could be in the near future—will help you locate these plants on your land before they become a problem.
Ice storms are the most dangerous winter weather for trees. The added weight of ice on branches can break limbs and topple trees. But ice storms can also increase tree growth if the damage is minor and even create new nesting sites for animals.
Bats freak out some people, but they’re actually remarkable creatures that can catch as many as 1,000 mosquitoes every hour. You can help give bats a safe, warm place to raise their young by hanging a bat box from your house or a freestanding post.
Christmas trees need annual maintenance both to help them survive and to gain that classic, cone-shaped Christmas tree form.
Overuse of pesticides, particularly insecticides called neonicotinoids, is a major cause of pollinator decline. Limiting or stopping your use of these chemicals can help keep more pollinators alive.
Many plants cause skin irritation. In most cases these irritations are mild, but a few can be severe. Be aware of these plants so you can avoid them or respond with appropriate treatment.
How many deer visit your property? You can find out using this “pellet count” survey method.
Most trespassing is accidental, because people often don't know they've crossed a property line. You can stop a lot of trespassing just by marking your boundaries. Posted signs are more expensive than painting your line, but they state the rules of how others may use your land.
Have a leftover tree stump from an old yard, firewood, or timber harvest tree? Put it to use by making a rustic end table.
Sometimes there’s no other way to control an invasive plant than to apply herbicide. Used in low quantities and with proper application techniques, herbicide can address many invasive plant problems with minimal side effects on the surrounding environment.
Moving firewood, say from your woodlot to a campsite, is the #1 way dangerous forest pests spread. State law restricts when and how far you may transport firewood.
Having a georeferenced .pdf map on your phone means you can track your position in the field and mark points of interest, even without cell phone service. We developed the MyWoodlot Watershed mapping tool to help you make your own maps and discover important features on or around your property.
You don’t need to tap hundreds of trees to make maple syrup. Even tapping one tree can net you enough syrup to last several months.
Invasive plants thrive in the sunlight. Cutting vines that threaten to kill your trees will help keep your woodlands shaded and slow the spread of invasive plants.
Most ducks nest on the ground, but wood ducks nest in tree cavities. You can attract these beautiful waterfowl to your pond by building and installing a simple nest box for them.
Make sure your forester and logger know your expectations for your favorite spots on your woodlot, like a special trail or view.
Like to draw? Like to paint? Try doing them outside! Painting or drawing outside, also known as “plein air” art, can improve your nature observation skills and deepen your connection with the land.
Different land types can support different numbers of deer. You can find out whether deer are harming your woodlot with this browse assessment.
If you cut down a tree in your yard, getting rid of the stump can be a real pain. Instead of grinding it up, this project repurposes that stump into a small flowerbed.
Even after native plants are established, don’t let your guard down. Keep up your prevention, location, and control efforts to hold invasive plants at bay.
Beauty isn’t just in what you see. By learning common bird songs and calls, you can tune in to your woodlot’s beautiful sounds as well.
Master Forest Owners are landowners trained by Cornell University to help you care for your woodlot. They visit landowners, walk the land with them, and share knowledge and experiences all without charge.
You may think your dead and fallen trees are eyesores that need to be cleaned up, but a few dead trees benefit your woodlot in lots of ways.
Which plants on your woodlot most catch your eye? Create a list and take pictures of the flowers, bushes, or trees you enjoy the most. You can encourage, showcase, and add more of these plants over time.
This friendly competition organized by the New York Forest Owners Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension encourages landowners to grow the best quality trees possible on their property. Landowners in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania are eligible.
Overabundant deer often contribute to invasive plant spread by eating the native plants. Installing a deer fence to keep deer out of an area where you removed invasives can sometimes be enough to get native plants growing back all on their own.
To locate invasive plants on your land, you first need to know what to look for. It would be overwhelming to learn every invasive plant, so focus on common ones to help you spot these invaders sooner.
You can see a lot from your trails, but sometimes the best places are stumbled upon by accident. Get off the beaten path and explore your woodlot with the help of a map, compass, GPS unit, or smart phone.
More than 4,000 species of bees are native to North America, and most don’t form hives and rarely sting. You can help bees by building or buying a wood or bamboo nesting house for them. Note: due to fungal infestations, replace your bee nesting houses every 2-3 years.
Food plots are an excellent way to attract animals to your property. Not just for hunters, food plots increase wildlife viewing opportunities and make animals healthier.
Just setting up a bird nesting box isn’t enough to keep birds using it. Periodic cleaning will reduce nest parasites and improve the health of both adult and baby birds.
Like many outdoor activities, wildlife tracking requires practice and patience. If you already have a basic understanding of wildlife tracks, these resources will help you take your tracking skills to the next level.
The flute-clear notes of a wood thrush. The aerial acrobatics of an American woodcock. Your woodlot can support an astonishing variety of birds, but different birds have different needs. If you want to see more birds, create greater variety on your property.
Protect yourself against Lyme disease by avoiding tick bites and checking yourself for ticks after coming in from the outdoors.
Just like your doctor runs tests to determine your health, you can find out the health of your woodlot by hiking your land and looking at several indicators.
Many invasive plants were brought here intentionally for use in landscaping. One of the best ways to prevent new invasive infestations is to use only native plants in your landscaping. These plants can also be attractive and benefit wildlife like pollinators.
For properties with especially high deer numbers and impacts, you can obtain special state permits that allow antlerless deer hunting beyond standard limits.
Hiking is likely the most common way you’ll experience your woodlot. Learn about essential items to bring to make your hike a safe, enjoyable time.
Understanding how water damages your trails is the first step in protecting them.
Find out if your streamside areas are healthy and what to do to care for them with this easy-to-use self-assessment.
Plants, mushrooms, insects, and all sorts of other interesting critters make a living on fallen logs. Peek under a log to discover this fascinating woodland world.
Campfires can be a lot of fun, but they can get out of control if not handled safely. Learn how to safely make, maintain, and put out a campfire.
Spotting erosion problems before they grow makes it cheaper and easier to fix them.
When dealing with small infestations, mechanical control techniques like hand-pulling, cutting, or brush hogging can be effective. These techniques require more work, especially for long-term control, but they can reduce or eliminate the need for herbicide.
Macroinvertebrates—creatures without backbones but that you can see with your naked eye—live in streams and are important food sources for larger wildlife. These critters are easy to find and identify by turning over rocks and sifting the streambed through a net.
You don’t need to be a hunter to experience the excitement of calling back and forth with a turkey in the spring.
Trees possess beauty that is sometimes obscured by nature itself. Pruning dead limbs and sculpting a form will enhance a tree's natural beauty and health.
Though the northeastern US is sometimes called "the asbestos forest" for its fire resistance, the region's fire towers are evidence of its wildfire history. Be especially vigilant during the region's main fire season of March through May.
Hummingbird feeders with a sugar-and-water solution can provide supplemental food for hummingbirds and enjoyment for humans. Maintained properly, feeders won’t harm hummingbirds and will give them the energy they need to go after their real desired food: insects.
If you have a lot of trails, you might not know where all of them are or how they connect to one another. Make a map of your trails to learn what you have and make your hikes easier.