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Recycled Paper Field Guide

In this activity, students will create a recycled paper field guide showing common plants found in the temperate rainforest. Field guides help anyone who is interested in identifying plants and animals in an area. They contain pictures of plants, along with their names, descriptions and any other identification specific to the organism.

The temperate rainforest is home to a variety of plants and animals. Using their field guides, students will be able to identify these common plants. Each of these plants has unique characteristics and is relatively easy to identify.

This is a list of some common and identifiable plants:

  • Western red cedar
  • Western hemlock
  • Sitka spruce
  • Sword fern
  • Salal
  • Douglas fir
  • Big leaf maple


  • Describe the characteristics of a coastal temperate rainforest.


  • Per Student:
    one sided paper (e.g. paper from photocopying, scrap paper, etc.)
    samples or pictures of common plants

Key Questions

  • What is needed to help identify a plant?
  • Why do scientists use field guides?

What To Do

  1. Give each student 5 sheets of recycled paper. Get the students to cut each sheet in half.
  2. Line sheets of paper with all the blank side facing in one direction. Staple one side to make a notebook.
  3. The front page will be the cover. Students can write their name and a title for the notebook e.g. “Field Guide to the Coastal Temperate Rainforest” or “Plants of the Coastal Temperate Rainforest.”
  4. Around the room, set up stations with different samples and/or pictures of the plants.
  5. On each page have the students write information about each plant. They should include:
  • A drawing of the plant
  • The name of the plant
  • Description of plant

Teacher Tips:

  • Have older students include more details about each plant. Consider removing descriptions from pictures so students can write their own.
  • If time is limited, have students choose 3-5 of their favorite plants to draw. Similarly, if you have more time, have students draw all the plants.
  • As an alternative for younger grades, have students make some plant rubbings of the common plants they find.


  • Go for a nature walk to a local forest or park. Can the students use their field guide to help identify the plant?.
  • Make a field guide to animals in a temperate rainforest. Include animal footprints.
  • Discuss what else could be added to a field guide.