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KET Electronic Field Trips
The Forest
Teacher’s Guide
Program Details—Part 2

Major themes:

  • factors that affect forest health
  • the benefits of healthy forests to the environment
  • old-growth vs. secondary forest
  • ecosystems

Vocabulary terms (see glossary):

  • canopy
  • Clements, Frederick
  • climax species
  • disturbance event
  • mixed mesophytic forest
  • old-growth forest
  • pioneer species

Watch the Video
Watch Part 2
[requires RealPlayer®]

Kentucky Academic Expectations addressed:

  • 2.1: Students understand scientific ways of thinking and working and use those methods to solve real-life problems.
  • 2.2: Students identify, analyze, and use patterns such as cycles and trends to understand past and present events and predict possible future events.
  • 2.3: Students identify and analyze systems and the ways their components work together or affect each other.
  • 2.4: Students use the concept of scale and scientific models to explain the organization and functioning of living and nonliving things and predict other characteristics that might be observed.
  • 2.5: Students understand that under certain conditions nature tends to remain the same or move toward a balance.
  • 2.36: Students use strategies for choosing and preparing for a career.
  • 2.6: Students understand how living and nonliving things change over time and the factors that influence the changes.


As Part 2 begins, Tim and the teenagers walk through the woods to meet Jeff Lewis, a silviculturist with the USDA Forest Service, Morehead Ranger District. He tells them about the health of the forest, elaborating on the process of succession as change over time, and about the reaction of the forest to disturbance events that might affect its health: fire, disease, insects, and weather events such as windstorms. He also talks about how the forest helps the environment as a whole by cleaning air and water and by helping to store water and meter it out so that it is available when needed.

Tim then recalls a meeting between author Zoe Strecker and Marc Evans, an ecologist with the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission. In a video segment from KET’s Kentucky Life, Marc and Zoe tour the largest old-growth forest area in Kentucky, Blanton Forest. Marc explains how he identified the area as an old-growth forest, the differences between old-growth and secondary-growth forests, and the advantages of preserving old-growth areas.

The kids then hear Steve Bonney of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources talking about the interconnectedness of organisms in the natural world—how a loss of one species affects all parts of the ecosystem. He uses the analogy of a computer having its internal wiring cut wire by wire to illustrate his point: How long do you think the computer would continue to function?

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