Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home Teaching the Next Generation...

Teaching the Next Generation

Interest in teaching children about the environment and the need to understand the protection and management of natural areas has recently increased among educators across the southeast and the nation as a whole. The study of the longleaf pine ecosystem presents opportunities for school children to understand important biological concepts, the cultural history and modern conservation issues of a large portion of the southeastern United States, i.e., information that is cross-curriculum. Surprisingly, however, children in the south (and the U.S.) are often more knowledgeable about the rainforests of the distant tropics than the longleaf forest in their own backyards. And yet, although this ecosystem is as rich in plants and animals as most tropical rainforests, it is in equal peril of permanent destruction. Environmental education is a powerful tool we can use to reverse this trend of decline in the south’s longleaf pine forests.

Through the distribution of Longleaf and our longleaf ecosystem prints (see below), and through presentations by Roger Reid and The Longleaf Alliance, we have an opportunity to educate a whole generation about longleaf pine and the longleaf ecosystem. So far, almost all of our efforts have been focused on Alabama and Louisiana because we have had generous sponsors that paid for our travel costs and materials in these two states. It would be wonderful to expand our efforts to every state in the natural range of longleaf pine.

If you would like to sponsor the distribution of Longleaf and or our series of longleaf ecosystem prints, please contact us at The Longleaf Alliance. Besides the prints and the book Longleaf, the Alliance needs funds to cover travel costs for our staff and Roger Reid. We currently have invitations to speak at schools in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.


Materials Available

Longleaf Ecosystem Prints

The Longleaf Alliance’s longleaf ecosystem print series, illustrated by Patrick Elliott of Tallahassee, FL (click here to learn more about Patrick), is a series that includes a color composite of the longleaf pine ecosystem measuring 24 inches wide, by 18 inches high, and a black and white version and a black and white coded key both measuring 33” inches wide by 26” high. The black and white print may be colored in by the students.

This large scale, complex ecosystem level drawing depicts many of the plants and animals that could be encountered on a stroll through the longleaf pine forest. Specifically Elliott has portrayed the longleaf pine forests he commonly observes in the sandy rolling hills of the Florida Panhandle (known locally as High Pines).

We like to call this our "Where's Waldo?" print. There are about 100 different plants species and 90 different animal species scattered throughout the print. Many hours can be spent trying to find them all or you can use the key if you don't want to spend the time.

This entire set of prints with key may be purchased for only $8.00 (plus S&H). Please visit our store to purchase or call us at 334-427-1029 to place an order. Bulk ordering is available.


Longleaf is a book by Roger Reid (click here to learn more about Roger) that has been used to introduce thousands of children and young adults to longleaf pine and the longleaf pine ecosystem.

In Longleaf, fourteen-year-old Jason Caldwell goes camping in the Conecuh National Forest with his parents. His herpetologist mother wants to study the frogs in the region, and Jason is glad to tag along. But before he even gets off the plane, Jason has already been the witness to a crime, and soon he’ll find himself lost among the very longleaf pines that he and his parents had been flying over only days before. Now Jason and Leah—his new forest-smart friend—will have to use all their knowledge of the outdoors to outwit a trio of villains, navigate the labyrinth of longleaf pines, and make it home safely.

Set in the real-life Conecuh National Forest, Longleaf is a captivating adventure for middle-school aged students—and an excellent, accurate introduction to the plants and animals of the Conecuh region. Reid brings the region to life, advertising its wonders and its dangers, through the eyes of two likable teenaged protagonists. Longleaf is both an important learning tool and a guaranteed gripping read for adventure lovers of all ages.

This book makes a wonderful accompaniment to the lesson plans (see below) and to the longleaf ecosystem prints described above.

More information on Longleaf can be found at the web site We also carry the book in our store.


Lesson Plans

The following lessons (which are all downloadable for FREE!) are designed for use as an educational tool for elementary students in grades 3-5. That is not to say, however, that teachers outside of those grade levels will not find a use for this material in their classroom. This material is intended to instruct students on the both the natural and cultural history of the longleaf pine ecosystem. The central focus of each lesson is the drawing itself (all done by Patrick Elliott). Each lesson has a coloring page and accompanying color key. Instructive background material is to be read to help explain each of the lessons (in text written for both the student and instructor). Along with this background material, we have highlighted key words and concepts that teachers may find helpful in explaining the subject matter (note that each keyword is highlighted and found in the glossary). Finally, each lesson has classroom activities developed by other educators to help in the teaching of the fascinating subject. You can begin your journey through the longleaf pine ecosystem by following the various links below.

To download and print each individual lesson with accompanying coloring sheets, click on each lesson plan below.

To download and print a complete copy of all material, click here. (NOTE: This is a large file, 265 MB, and will take a long time to download.)

To download and print just the coloring sheets, click here.

To download and print just the Glossary of Terms, click here.

To download and print just an Activity Sheet, click here (for black & white) or here (for color).

Glossary of Terms
Lesson 1
At One Time, the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Stretched Nearly Continuous from Eastern Texas to Southern Virginia...
Lesson 2
A Group of Young Longleaf Pine Trees Growing in a Forest Opening
Lesson 3
Fox Squirrel Finds a Vantage Point on the Stump of an Old Longleaf Pine Tree
Lesson 4
A Covey of Bobwhite Quail Scratching Around for Food
Lesson 5
Sand (Ground) Doves are Well-Adapted to the Open, Sandy Longleaf Pine Forest Floor Habitat
Lesson 6
A Family of Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers Makes a Home in a Mature Longleaf Pine Tree
Lesson 7
The Copy-Cats of the Longleaf Pine Forest
Lesson 8
The Longleaf Forest is Alive with the Beautiful Colors of the Butterfly
Lesson 9
Pitcher Plant Bogs are Among the Most Unique Community of the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
Lesson 10
These Animals Play it Cool When Fire Sweeps Through the Woods
Lesson 11
Southeastern Indians Purposely Burned the Longleaf Pine Forest
Lesson 12
Deer Found in the Longleaf Pine Forest Were Highly Valued by Many Indian Tribes
Lesson 13
A Spanish Vaquero Driving His Cattle Through the Longleaf Forest to Market
Lesson 14
The Settlement of the Longleaf Pine Frontier in the Early 1800s
Lesson 15
The Longleaf Forest Served as the Walmart for Early Settlers
Lesson 16
As Part of the Naval Stores Industry, the Longleaf Pine Tree was Tapped for Its Sticky Resin
Lesson 17
Massive Longleaf Pine Trees were Cut by Hand Axes or Two-Man Saws and Pulled from the Site by Mules or Oxen
Lesson 18
Floating Longleaf Pine to the Sawmill
Lesson 19
Steam Engines Made Hauling Wood Much Easier and Opened Most of the Longleaf Forest to Logging
Lesson 20
A Seemingly Endless Sea of Longleaf Pine Stumps
Lesson 21
Wild Hogs Rooting Up Longleaf Pine Seedlings
Lesson 22
Planting Loblolly Pine in Cutover Longleaf Pine Forests by Civilian Conservation Corps Enrollees in the 1930s & 1940s
Lesson 23
Modern Logging and Milling Spelled Economic Recovery for the South but Spurred the End of the Longleaf Forest
Lesson 24
Longleaf Pine is Trying to Make a Comeback
Lesson 25
Professional Land Managers Setting the Longleaf Pine Forest on Fire
Document Actions
Personal tools