| University of Oregon | Environmental Studies Program | HJ Andrews Experimental Forest
Home Project DescriptionEducational ResourcesVirtual TourAbout UsContact UsDirections

Project Description

The Forest Team was apart of the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), an Environmental Studies department program at the University of Oregon. In this program, teams of students work to serve a need of a community partner as a capstone experience for students. The Forest Team was one of four teams launched in the Environmental Education Initiative, an effort to provide environmental education and outreach for community partners. The Forest Team worked in coordination with the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest to enhance its educational outreach programs. The Forest Team reached out to the community to educate people on the importance of old growth forests on our public lands by creating an interpretive trail and accompanying education materials.

Lookout Creek Interpretive Trail Brochure:

The Forest Team was given the opportunity to enhance an already amazing place by designing an interpretive trail brochure for the already existing Lookout Creek old growth trial located in the H.J. Andrews forest. The brochure is about the characteristics of old growth forests and correlates to nine numbered stops along a 3/4 mile section of trail. The stops identify important examples of forest structures and processes. After descending into the Lookout Creek drainage, hikers will find themselves immersed in another world that took hundreds of years to evolve. The brochure conveys the basic ecological processes by which it came about and is designed to connect people to the beauty and complexity of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. You can read the text on the virtual trail tour.

Lesson Plans:

The lesson plans we developed enable educators to give their students background in the processes that define old growth forests. The topics include old-growth forest layers, tree anatomy, decomposing organisms and nurse logs, ecological disturbances, large woody debris in streams, non-timber forest products, and creative expression in the forest. We designed some lesson plans to be used while hiking the trail, while others are suitable for either the trail or the classroom. The lessons are designed for 6th-12th graders but could easily be adapted to fit other age groups and audiences. The lesson plans are available on our educational resources page.

Educational Outreach:

In order to promote the Lookout Creek Trail and to enhance our skills as environmental educators, the Forest Team guided hikes on the trail, facilitated our lesson plans in the classroom, and participated in other forest education opportunities. Collectively, we have backgrounds in forest ecology, native botany, and general ecology and biology.


We interviewed renowned scientists Fred Swanson, Dave Shaw, Mark Harmon, and poet Charles Goodrich about topics that related to our brochure text and how research influences management practices. These interview podcasts can be used by the public, in classrooms, and in conjunction with a walk on the trail. You can listen or download them on our virtual trail tour.