Forestry Event of the Wisconsin Science Olympiad 
2012-2013 Guidance

Welcome to the Forestry Event Site of the Wisconsin Science Olympiad. Here you will find information about the upcoming contest locations; background information for teams, mentors and event supervisors; learning objectives for the forestry event; and where resources can be found.

The purposes of the Forestry Event at the Olympiad are to:

  • Challenge individuals and teams to stimulate interest and promote competence in forestry skills, particularly those applicable in Wisconsin

  • Prepare individuals and teams to competitively participate in the National Science Olympiad Forestry competition.

The Forestry Event of the Wisconsin Science Olympiad is a partnership between the Wisconsin Society of American Foresters, LEAF, and the Wisconsin Science Olympiad.



Check the Wisconsin Science Olympiad website





Jeremy Solin


LEAF K-12 Forestry Education Program





  1. There are two students to a team.

  2. Each team may bring only one 8.5” x 11” two-sided page of notes that contain information in any form from any source, up to 2 commercially published field guides, and one copy of the Official National Tree List.  (teams may tab {limit 3 words} the guides and write on any of these).

  3. Teams are encouraged to contact their local Society of American Foresters Chapter and request a forester’s help in mentoring the team

  4. Locate a chapter near you by visiting this link and reviewing the map to locate the chapter for the county where you go to school. The email address for the chapter chair is located below the map. Send the chair a request for a forester and he will match you up with one.

  5. A visiting forester will be able to answer questions you may have or help you learn to use forestry equipment. The forester is not expected to teach you everything on the learning objectives list. Your team should have done enough investigation to know most of the material before a forester’s visit.


  1. Please contact your chapter chair and let them know you are available to serve as a mentor and state the counties/towns you are able to visit.

  2. Prior to visiting a team please review the learning objectives located farther down on this page and be prepared to answer questions based on those objectives. If it is possible, please bring some of the forestry tools mentioned in the objectives.

  3. You are not expected to spend the time lecturing to the team, but rather provide guidance when the team does not clearly understand a topic.

Event Supervisor

  1. See the 2012-2013 Forestry Event Supervisor Guide (PDF 382KB).


Learning Objectives

In preparing and competing in this event, students will develop the skills and knowledge related to: 

Tree Physiology

  • Explain the function of the parts of the tree (roots, trunk, leaves, wood, cambium, phloem, xylem, bark)

  • Identify wood characteristics of common Wisconsin trees (above).

Tree Identification 

  • Identify by common name the following tree and shrub species by bark, leaves, and branching pattern

Trees to Know

Ash (Black, Green, and White)

Aspen (Bigtooth, Trembling, and Balsam Poplar)

Balsam fir



Birch (Paper, River, and Yellow)

Black locust

Black walnut


Cherry (Black, choke, and pin)

Eastern cottonwood

Eastern hemlock

Eastern White Cedar

Elm (American, Red, Rock, and Slippery)

Hickory (Bitternut and Shagbark)


Maple (Boxelder, Red, Silver, and Sugar)

Oak (Bur and White; Black, Pin, and Red)

Pine (Jack, Red, Scotch and White)

Spruce (Black, Norway, and White)

Tamarack/Eastern larch


Shrubs to Know




Dogwood (alternate-leaved, gray, and  red osier)


Hazel (American and Beaked)


Juneberry (Serviceberry)


Mountain Maple




Wild Plum

Witch Hazel

Help with tree identification can be found at:

Wisconsin LEAF Tree Identification Key



 Forest Measurement

  • Measure a tree’s DBH using a Biltmore stick and diameter tape

  • Measure a tree’s merchantable and total height using a Merritt hypsometer and a clinometer

  • Use DBH and merchantable height to determine board foot and pulpwood volume using respective tables

  • Use a log scale stick to determine saw log volume

  • Understand the difference between standing and cut log volumes

  • Measure a pulp pile for total cords

  • Establish a plot of a given size and inventory the trees within that plot

  • Determine direction (azimuth) between two points using a compass

  • Determine distance by pacing between two points

  • Calculate acreage from given dimensions of land

  • Determine the legal description of land for a 40 acre parcel using a topographic map

  • Convert between/relate typical land measurement units (chains, acres, 40s, sections, townships)


  • Determine number of trees to be planted in a given area of land provided the planting density

  • Calculate the cost of planting trees provided the cost per tree

  • Describe common products made from Wisconsin trees.

Ecology / Silviculture

  • Explain the impacts of invasive species on forests

  • Provide characteristics of early and late succession tree species

  • Describe and differentiate common management practices of selective harvest, clear cutting, planting, shelterwood harvest, seed tree harvest, prescribed burning.

  • Select appropriate management options to meet landowner goals.

  • Describe common Wisconsin tree pests and diseases (gypsy moth, forest tent caterpillar, jack pine bud worm, emerald ash borer, oak wilt, Dutch elm disease)

  • Describe important forest ecological processes and characteristics of nutrient cycle, water cycle, succession, disturbance, energy flow, and biodiversity.

  • Describe the effects of fire on a forest.

Urban Forestry

  • Identify by common name the following tree and shrub species by bark, leaves, and branching pattern:

  1. Norway maple

  2. Honey Locust

  3. Norway spruce

  4. Catalpa

  5. Ginkgo

  6. Colorado blue spruce

  • Describe the common threats to an urban tree.

  • Describe the benefits of an urban forest and an urban tree.

Define the following forestry-related terms:

  1. Allelopathy

  2. Board foot

  3. Broadleaf

  4. Conifer

  5. Cord

  6. DBH

  7. Deciduous

  8. Disturbance

  9. Ecosystem

  10. Evergreen

  11. Forest certification

  12. Harvest

  13. High-grading

  14. Infiltration

  15. Invasive species

  16. Photosynthesis

  17. Riparian zone

  18. Rotation

  19. Stumpage

  20. Succession

  21. Sustainable forestry

  22. Transpiration

  23. Vegetative reproduction

  24. Veneer

  25. Windbreak

 Be able to identify and describe the use of the following forest-related tools:

  1. Angle gauge

  2. Basal area

  3. Biltmore stick

  4. Clinometer

  5. Diameter tape (Logger’s tape)

  6. Increment borer

  7. Log scale stick

  8. Merritt hypsometer

  9. Tree scale stick

  10. Wedge Prism



General knowledge

Wisconsin Forest Management Guide (UWSP Forestry Outreach Program)

Woodland Stewardship -

Frequently Asked Questions about Wisconsin’s Forests (from the Wisconsin Forestry website)  

Wisconsin's Council on Forestry

Silvics of North America: USDA Forest Service - Agriculture Handbook 654

Tree Identification

Wisconsin LEAF Tree Identification Key Index

Twig identification photographs

Forestry Tools

Forestry Suppliers – Forestry, Firefighting, and Tree Planting Equipment and Tools  

Compass Course

Navigation with Map and Compass (from Backcountry Attitude)

Forest Management and Measurements

Bring on the Biltmore (from Purdue University)

Forest Fact Publications  

No. 38 “What Will a Forest Tree Earn?”
No. 39 “What's a Forest Tree Worth?”
No. 42 “What is a Board Foot?”
No. 43 “What is Basal Area?”
No. 44 “What is a Cord?”

A Guide to the Tree and Log Scale Stick

Tree Planting

Forest Fact Publication No. 41 “A Brief Look at Tree planting”  

Local and Regional Forestry Support Contacts


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