What Stories Do TREES Tell Us?

Welcome to the Trans-Canadian Research and Environmental Education (TREE) program! A citizen science program where students from across Canada join with researchers from the Mistik Askîwin Dendrochronology Lab (MAD Lab) to learn about the stories trembling aspen trees tell and how a synchrotron can be a tool to tell that story. Join us as we explore this new area in research and learn about environments across Canada!

Student from Luseland, SK using a tree borer to collect a tree core sample

Contribute to Citizen Science

  • How? Collect trembling aspen and soil samples. Check out Module 4 for instructions and what is in our TREE kits!

  • A timeline must also be provided. Connect with Module 2 to learn what historical data is needed for the research.

  • Interested? Complete our Registration Form and book a kit today! Registration is open all year. Check out our calendar to see when TREE kits are booked.

Help Advance Science Research

  • Join our Research Team as they study tree growth and the connection to chemical composition in tree cores and soil.

  • Why trembling aspen? MAD Lab is interested in learning how trembling aspen adapt to various Canadian environments.

  • Why a synchrotron? This is a new area of research for dendrochronology and with your help, we can help expand the science!

Tree cores in sample holders in the IDEAS beamline at the Canadian Light Source, awaiting beamtime and data collection
Students from Luseland, SK learning from Dr. Colin Laroque, director of the Mistik Askîwin Dendrochronology Lab, about tree cores and what MAD Lab does

Connect to Classroom Curricula

  • View downloadable teaching resources and lessons plans, easily adapted to suit Gr. 6-12 STEM, social studies, & land-based courses. Choose what to connect to!

  • Our curricular connections page shows an example of connections using Grade 8 curricula across Canada.

  • Check out our instructional videos as well!

See our growing database of TREE research below!

How to Participate

Students from Luseland, SK collecting tree cores from the trembling aspen in the notable "Crooked Bush" area by Luseland, SK

Four easy steps:

  1. Help your students discover the environmental history of the area where your sample tree grows by constructing a timeline

  2. Register with us to schedule a free delivery of equipment

  3. Collect at least 2 trembling aspen tree cores with associated soil samples (according to instructions)

  4. Send your timeline, the samples, and the equipment kit, back to us!

Interested in learning more? Want to extend with connections to curriculum? Check out the sections below or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more useful info.


Mistik Askîwin Dendrochronology Laboratory Logo
Canadian Light Source logo

The TREE program connects to science research done in partnership between the Mistik Askîwin Dendrochronology (MAD) Laboratory and the Canadian Light Source (CLS), both on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We acknowledge that the campus is located on Treaty Six land in the traditional territories of the Nêhiyawak (Cree), Anishinabek, Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations, and the homeland of the Métis. As educators, we respect Indigenous Ways of Knowing and oral traditions. We dedicate ourselves to moving forward in the spirit of partnership, reconciliation, and collaboration.