Forest Biology and Ecology for Educators

FOR 5384 Syllabus


Dr. Seiler

Dr. John Seiler

(540) 231-5461

230J Cheatham Hall

Office Hours: Any time, unless I am in class, a meeting, or out of town. All emails will be answered in 24 hours or less (except in the case of extenuating circumstances).


Your class textbook is available as a web app that you will be granted access to when you register for the course. You will additionally need to purchase access to Woody Plants in North America, a web app made available by Kendall/Hunt Publishing.


Class is scheduled to begin June 4 and end August 8. To accomodate your schedules, our schedule is flexible except for a few dates. By the end of July 6 you must have taken four tree identification quizzes and Exam 1 by July 7. By the end of August 7 you must have taken Exam 2 and five additional tree identification quizzes. Lesson plans are due July 29. See the Syllabus for a suggested class format and actual quiz / exam availbility dates.


The course grade will be determined by two formal exams covering tree biology and ecology topics, nine quizzes on tree identification, and two lesson plans developed using material learned in the course. The two exams are not cumulative and will each be worth 30 percent of your final grade. Nine tree identification quizzes will also be taken each worth approximately 3.3 percent. Each quiz may be taken twice. A different quiz will be made available and the highest score counted. Quizzes will be cumulative (i.e. the quiz for session 3 will include trees from sessions 1 and 2). All exams and quizzes will be taken over the internet. Each lesson plan will be worth 5% of the final grade.

Final grades will then be determined based on the following breakdown:

Numerical GradeCourse Grade
93 or aboveA
59 or belowF

The Virginia Tech Honor system is in effect at all times. More information on the Honor system

Class Registration

Sorry, this class is not currently offered.

Course Objectives

To provide public school biology educators an advanced understanding of the biology and ecology of trees. This includes identification, morphology, anatomical and reproductive attributes, basic physiological processes important to tree growth and management, site quality and forest soils.


You will be granted access to the Forest Biology Textbook when you register for this course.

We recommend the following schedule to keep you on track:

SessionSuggested DateChapter
16/4-121 Structure
26/13-192 Reproduction
36-20-253 Gas Exchange
46/26-7/34 Water Relations
Exam 1Available 6/29-7/7
57/4-105 Growth Regulators
67/11-176 Dormancy
77/18-249 Forest Soils
87/25-2910 Productivity
97/30-8/611 Silviculture
Exam 2Available 8/1-8/7

Tree ID

You will need to purchase access to Woody Plants in North America, a web app made available by Kendall/Hunt Publishing.

Some things to remember about the quizzes:

We recommend the following schedule to keep you on track:

SessionSuggested DateQuiz Available

Session 1 (these open in a new window)

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

Session 8

Session 9

Lesson Plan

One of the objectives for this course is to make forest ecology and biology relevant to secondary educators. Therefore we are actually requiring the students to develop two lesson plans that will basically follow the standard Virginia SOL lesson plan guide. We suggest that you visit Siemens STEM Academy for specific examples of successful lesson plans and other useful tips. All lesson plans submitted for this course must include the following components and should not exceed 2 pages in length (single spacing, 10 font, 1 inch margins, times new roman). Additionally, the student should provide a one-paragraph description of the chapter and section from the course text that were used to create the Lesson Plan.

We encourage you to submit your lesson plan to the web site listed above. If it is approved for posting you can receive 10 points toward renewal of your license, with a maximum of 30 points earned in one year. Please let us know if it is approved!

Lesson Plan Components:

You must submit both lesson plans on or before July 29, 2012. Email them as attachments to Dr. Seiler