Instructions for School Groups

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 School Groups pdf) and printing it out to bring along with you in the field.


1 hour

Materials for Each Pair


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. Try to find a site where there are at least 2 different sapling species present.  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. Have students work in pairs or small groups. BEFORE collecting data, each pair should fill out all the descriptive information at the top of their data sheet (date, start time, etc.).
  3. Half of the groups in the class should focus on collecting ONE species (for example, sugar maples) for ALL their data points. The other half of the groups should focus on a different species (for example, white oaks). Be sure to write the genus and species on the data sheet.
  4. One person should be writing the data while the other measures the sapling’s height (in centimeters), ages two twigs (on separate sides of the sapling if you have a choice), and looks for fresh browsing by deer (a green stem that has been chomped clean off). They should communicate these numbers and a “yes” or “no” for browsing out loud to the person writing on the data sheet.
  5. Pairs should be spread out shoulder to shoulder and work in straight parallel lines so that one pair does not accidentally re-sample the same sapling another pair has already done. A space of about 3 feet between pairs should be plenty of room.
  6. Students should ask for help if they are unsure about identifying a species, or about the precise age of a twig. Move on to another plant if either of these things are too difficult.
  7. Each pair should collect 15 data points (that means looking at 15 different saplings). If the pair would like to collect more than 15 data points, they are certainly encouraged to.


  1. Download our Excel Template for Entering Data and combine every pair’s data onto ONE spreadsheet. One student can enter the pair’s data while the other checks the entries against the paper data sheet.
  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!