You can identify plants anywhere. Want to see places nearby where you can start Identifying Plants? Enter your location.
Press leaves and flowersMake sure the leaves or flowers are free from insects or fungi. Place in the middle of a heavy book (you may want to pile a few books on top) and leave in a dry place for a week to two weeks. Before you take any leaves or flowers from a national forest, check with a ranger to make sure it’s permitted. Be mindful of any allergic reactions you might cause by bringing home plants.
Discover your state flowerLook up what your state flower is online, then see if you can find it in your area. Encourage your child to write about it in their nature journal — or, better yet, create a poem about it.
What to Bring
Plenty of water, even for short hikes — a gallon per person per day is a good guide
Snacks such as fruit or trail mix and empty bags to collect any garbage
Sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen
Lightweight rain jacket
Before you get on the trail make sure you have the local Forest Service Ranger District’s or Supervisor’s Office phone number with you. If someone gets hurt this should be the first number you call.
Always let someone know where you're going and what time you expect to be back.
Avoid going if a thunderstorm is in the forecast. Seek shelter in a car or house if you’re caught in a thunderstorm. If you're caught outside, the safest place to be is crouching in a cluster of trees — not in a clearing, out on water, or next to a lone tree.
Be mindful of the sun. Use sunscreen, seek shade, and drink plenty of water — even in the winter.
Animals have their own natural food supply so please don’t feed them.
Fruits and mushrooms can look tasty, but some are poisonous. To be safe, do not eat anything you find growing in the forest.
Railroad tracks are for trains only. Keep to the side and stay off the tracks.
Set a turnaround time when heading out that gives you plenty of time to get back before it gets dark. Expect to spend at least the same amount of time hiking back as you did hiking out.
Bring a small flashlight or another source of light with you if you'll be out close to sunset.