Week 11: Leaf-Out Tree ID 

Leaves come in all different shapes. Take a look around to see

how many you can find.  This week we look at 3 leaves common

to the forests in western Maine. See if you can find all 3 in nature

this week!  To get started, click the PDF icon for Week 11. 

Set to print at 95% or fit to page.  Cut around the grey border

before folding.





Leaf - Out Vocabulary 

Simple leaf: Not divided into leaflets.

Ovate: Egg-shaped where the broadest point is below the

middle of the leaf.

Palmately lobed: Lobes spread from the stem like fingers on a hand.

Pinnately lobed: Cut into lobes, but not cut right to the middle of the leaf.

Opposite: Leaves are arranged directly across from one another on 
a twig.

Alternate: Leaves are not opposite on twig.


Betula family, ovate, tappering point,

double-toothed, alternate











Acer family, palmately lobe, fan-like, 3 - 5 lobes, opposite



Quercus family, pinnately lobed, deeply indented margins, alternate





Make a Leaf Rubbing

Leaf rubbings are a fun way to record the texture and shape

of the leaves you identify.  


Paper, crayons or pencil, and a hard surface

1. Find a good leaf to rub. Look at the texture & features on the leaf.

Are there holes on it? Has it dropped on the ground recently or has

it been on the ground for some time?

2. Place the leaf on a hard surface.  Place the leaf "veins" face up.

3. Put a white sheet of paper on the leaf & color over the leaf with

the side of the crayon or pencil.

4. Repeat with other leaves & colors. Use soft and hard leaves to

compare how drawings come out.  

Leaf Color Match:

Collect a bunch of leaves out on a walk.  Pick a variety of shapes 

and colors.  Using paint color chips from the hardware store, try to

find an exact match for the leaf's color.

*FUN FACT: Humans can see more shades of green than any other color.

Make Your Own Leaf and Wax Sun-catcher:

Create a shining work or art with your found leaves.

Watch THIS video for instructions.

Watercolor Leaf Guide:

Check out the leaf guide created by 5th graders at

Sebago Elementary School this spring.  Try making your own

leaf guide to the trees around where you live.  Draw or outline the

shape and use watercolor paint to finish.  Share your new leaf knowledge 

with your friends and family.  

Week 11

Print & Fold PDF

Week 11

PDF For Phones

Maine Urban Tree ID.png
White, Grey Birch.jpg
Red Maple.jpg
Sugar Maple.jpg

Red Maple 

Sugar Maple 

T-red oak.jpg

Red Oak

Leaf shapes-1.jpg
Leaf shapes-2.jpg

Click on the drawings below to download, print and color. 

Can you find them all?


Each week we feature a lesser known naturalist in our Pocket Journal Series.

In this space you will find the full quote and more information about the author. 


Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Ecologist, Canopy Researcher

“Trees are wonderful arenas for discovery because of their tall stature,

their complex structure, the biodiversity they foster, and their quiet beauty.” 

“It’s not an easy thing to be a forest ecologist, gripping ourselves with questions and trying to figure out how we can answer them. Especially as a small brown woman at a little college in the upper northwest corner of our country, far away from the areas of power and money, I really have to ask myself: What can I do? How can I reconnect people with trees?” 


Nalini is currently a professor and researcher at the University of Utah. She pioneered the study of Costa Rica rainforest canopies. Her research revealed how epiphytes live on branches in the canopy without having roots in the soil. To conduct her research, Nalini ascends into the canopy using mountain climbing equipment! She studies the community and ecosystem ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopy organisms and interactions, the effects of forest fragmentation on biodiversity and community function, and the development of database tools for canopy researchers. 


In addition to scientific research, Nalini is actively engaged in public outreach. She brings science lessons and imagery to incarcerated adults and youth, through her “The Initiative to bring Science Programs to the Incarcerated” (INSPIRE). You can read more and watch videos about that here. Nalini’s work with youth also includes Treetop Barbie, one in a line of Barbie’s focused on making science interesting and accessible, featuring real life female scientists. You can read more about that here. Other public outreach efforts include working with fashion professionals to create clothing with fabric printed with biologically correct images. You can read about that here. Nalini has spoken at over 35 places of worship, to weave conservation and ecological messages in spiritual discourse. You can read pamphlets that Nalini has prepared for religious audiences here

TED Talks

  1. Conserving the canopy 

  2. Life Science in Prison


Nalini Nadkarni’s website

The International Canopy Network

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni

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#wflt #gllt #lea or #lelt

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