AUGUSTA – The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has created a Maine Tree Club, a two-year educational program that will begin in January. The program is co-sponsored by the Maine Forest Service, the Pine Tree State Arboretum and the Pine Tree State 4H Foundation.

Participants will learn about 50 forest tree species of Maine by receiving practical information on tree identification and facts specific to each tree under study in a monthly packet sent from the Extension office each month.

Participants will also receive a hand lens for viewing things up close, a binder to keep the collection of fact sheets, and publications such as the Forest Trees of Maine pocket guide, the Maine Big Tree Register and other aids for self-study.

Optional outings are scheduled throughout the state during each season so people can apply what they have learned through the learn-by-mail program.

The cost of participating is $15 a year for individuals; $25 for couples; $30 for families. There is also a group rate of $60/group plus the cost of additional hand lenses. The group rate is designed for school groups of up to 15. Garden clubs and some classroom educators are among those who subscribe using the group subscription option.

For information, call Cooperative Extension at 1-800-228-1471 or see the Web site, www.umaine.mainetree club/edu. A few scholarships are available for people in need.

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