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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Civics, Geography

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North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Willamette Valley / Portland Metro


YouTube Video

Oregon’s New Urban Forester Describes the Promise and Peril of Trees in our Cities

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  • This video follows an urban forester, Brittany Oxford, as she describes the benefits of urban trees and dangers the trees face in the Portland area.
  • Students will learn about the job description of this urban forester, why trees in our cities are important, and the factors that put these trees at risk.
Teaching Tips


  • This video is short but it covers a lot of topics effectively.
  • Urban forester is a career in the field of climate science that students may not already be familiar with and may want to pursue!

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students will need to know the definition of urban.
  • Some students, including younger students and English language learners, may need additional terms defined such as inventory, municipal, maple, vulnerable, and diversity.


  • In biology classes, this video can launch a discussion about the importance of biodiversity and trees.
  • Social studies classes can use this video to discuss the inequalities associated with the urban heat island effect.
  • After this video, students can discuss the benefits of urban forests, both those mentioned in the video and students' own ideas.
  • Geography classes can follow this video by looking at maps showing the urban forests in a particular city, then look at another map showing the temperatures of these areas, comparing them to that of areas without tree cover.
  • After watching this video, students can go on a walk and identify the trees that make up their own urban forests.
  • This can be used as an introduction to the urban heat island effect and/or the 2021 heat dome in the U.S., or you may want to introduce students to these concepts ahead of time to give them some background knowledge to link to while watching this video.
Scientist Notes
This news clip introduces viewers to Brittany Oxford, a forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry. In the short news segment, Oxford discusses what she does as a forester in an urban area. This includes tasks such as caring for trees, protecting trees from the threats, and expanding the urban forests. She briefly mentions climate change, social inequality, urban heat islands, and the importance of diversity in a tree population. The description of the video has a link to a connected news article that has more information. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-3. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • Related Resources


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