Instructions for Individuals

This is our new pilot program, we are eager to have you try our website and instructions! If you have any feedback, please feel free to contact us at Thank you!

Please read through the following steps to learn how to collect and submit twig-age data. We also recommend downloading the pdf version (Instructions for Individuals pdf) and printing it out to bring along with you in the field.


1 hour



First, watch our “How to Age a Twig” video to understand the process: 


  1. Go to the location where you will be collecting data from. If you decide to collect data on more than one tree species, use a separate data sheet for each species. We look specifically for maple and oak saplings. You can use the Plant ID sheet to accurately identify the species of each sapling you are looking at (for example, white oak vs. red oak).
  2. BEFORE collecting data, fill out all the descriptive information at the top of your data sheet (date, start time, etc.). 
  3. Be sure to record the genus and species of the tree you are focusing on. You only have to write this once at the top of the column. If you are unsure about the identification of a particular plant or the age of the twigs, move on to another one rather than guessing. Tree seedlings (especially oaks) in browsed forests may be scarce, so walk through the forest slowly, looking hard for all that you can find.  Make a note under “Field Notes” if seedlings are scarce.
  4. Measure the sapling’s height (in centimeters), age two twigs (on separate sides of the sapling if you have a choice), and look for evidence of recent browsing by deer (a green stem that has been chomped clean off). Record this information in the corresponding columns on your data sheet.
  5. Try to age twigs on at least 25-30 seedlings of each of the species you decide to work on (50 would be great if you have the time!).  As oak seedlings are scarce, we would also appreciate aging twigs on ANY oak seedlings you can find.


  1. Download our Excel Template for Entering Data and enter your data.
  2. Save file as TwigAgeData_(Date)_(Location) (Example: TwigAgeData_7.22.19_WingraWoods,Madison,WI)
  3. Click here to submit your Excel file.

Example Spreadsheet:

Example of what a filled out excel spreadsheet should look like

You’ve completed the twig-age process! Thank you for your help and we hope you will continue collecting data in the future!