University of Maryland Extension

The Woods in Your Backyard

View our introduction to The Woods In Your Backyard. (2:45)

To order your copy of
The Woods in Your
Backyard - 2nd edition, visit
Cornell University Store.

The downloadable
workbook is available here.

Small lots, such as the one you may own, are a big deal. The vast majority of land owners have less than 10 acres. This land, wooded or not, is a vital source for all. By enhancing or creating natural areas and woodland on your lot, you can enjoy recreation, aesthetics, wildlife, and water quality. If your lot connects to other lots, there’s ample opportunity to make an even bigger impact by getting neighbors involved!

Owners of even just a few acres can make a positive difference in their environment through planning and implementing simple stewardship practices learned through the Woodland Stewardship Education's “The Woods in Your Backyard” program, available through workshops or from our online course.

The program's basic stewardship practices will bring you many personal benefits:

  • More time outdoors: A great way to get away from the computer and television. And if you have a family, consider getting everyone involved!
  • Increased privacy and sanctuary: Your own serene landscape to observe and enjoy.
  • More abundant wildlife: You provide habitats for wildlife you choose.
  • Increased exercise: Land techniques you apply will have you working more around the yard, at your own pace.
  • Forest products: Firewood, specialty medicinal plants, shiitake mushrooms, maple syrup and Christmas trees, just to name a few.
  • Enhanced property value.

The workshop and the course use the guide “The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home.” The full-color, 108-page guide helps land owners to:

  • Learn why you should manage your land.
  • Map your land, assess why you bought it, and decide what you hope to get out of it.
  • Understand how your land relates to the land around you.
  • Identify habitat units on your property.
  • Learn basics of tree identification, forestry, and wildlife habitat management.
  • Assess your property’s water resources, recreational possibilities, and aesthetic appeal, and ways to improve each.
  • Choose a few land management projects to help meet your goals.
  • Set a timetable and mark progress.

 The guide is provided at the workshop and is included in the registration fee. Additional information and resources related to the program may be found on our Sharing the Program, Resources, and Professional Papers pages. Be sure to check the Events calendar for information on upcoming presentations of "The Woods in Your Backyard." Previous workshops can be found at our Workshop Resources Library page. Additional resources, such as the video From Turf to Trees: Converting Lawn to Forest, can be found at our YouTube channel.

WSE initiatives are supported by funding from the USDA Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA). To learn more about the RREA, visit this site (external link).


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