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Plant health hero activity book (Age 5-8)

For parents & educators

The intent of this activity book is to teach young learners about the basics of plant health in Canada and how they can participate in protecting our amazing natural plant resources.

In this book, children will learn:

  1. the importance and impact of plant health within their own community, and Canada as a whole
  2. certain dangers to plant health, like invasive species and
  3. how they can help to protect plant life

You will find answer keys and a glossary on the last page.

Your young learners may need help navigating this workbook, even if they don't, working through the book together will give you a wonderful starting point to talk about caring for our planet and its amazing natural resources.

Prompts are wonderful tools to have when you are helping little ones make their way through a work book or to check on how well they are understanding the text.

Here are some prompts to help you spark some meaningful conversations about plant health.

  1. What is your favourite plant?
  2. What do you think would happen if there were no plants? How would that make you feel?
  3. Use the iNaturalist app or other plant identification apps to see what plants you have in your garden. Are they native to Canada?
  4. Bees have been in trouble recently, so we have to protect them. What is one way we can protect bees?
  5. What are we looking for when we check this tree?

Have fun!

(The iNaturalist app is a third party application and does not reflect the direct messaging of the government of Canada)

Meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Plant health heroes!

2020 is the international year of plant health! What does that mean? It means countries like Canada are celebrating plants and how we can protect them!

Why should we protect plants?

Plants do so many things for us!

Plants give us air to breathe. Plants are beautiful to look at.

Some animals make their homes on plants. Plants give us food to eat.

Can you think of something that you use plants for?

Can you spot the: Dog, Pumpkin, Bird, Picnic Blanket, Ball.

Image of people enjoying a park. Description follows.
Description of image

Image of people enjoying a park. A couple walking a dog, a woman selling pumpkins in a stand, children playing with a ball, a man having a picnic on a blanket, a bird making a nest, a woman a riding a bike and someone painting the trees.

Plant health villains

Outline of an Asian longhorned beetle.

Plant villains like insect pests and invasive plants can make our plants and trees sick. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has specially trained heroes to help fight these pests and invasive plants.

This insect pest is called the Asian longhorned beetle. It hurts maple trees. The Plant Health Hero Team kicked the Asian longhorned beetle out of Canada in 2020!

Not so fun fact: Another villain, the emerald ash borer, has killed millions of ash tress across Canada.

Ask a grown-up to help you look up a photo of the Asian longhorned beetle. What colours should you use for this insect?

Insect pests

Did you know that insects can travel to Canada from other countries? Even though foreign insects may not make plants sick in their home country, they can hurt Canadian plants.

Use these insect cards to help you spot some plant villains that might be in your area. See something suspicious? Ask a grown-up to help you take a picture and send it to:

LDD moth (Lymantria dispar dispar)

Image of a Lymantria dispar.
  • Hurts: Hardwood and soft trees
  • Comes from: Europe and Asia
  • Travels by: Eggs laid on vehicles, trailers, tents, outdoor furniture and firewood

Japanese beetle

Image of a Japanese beetle.
  • Hurts: Many fruit, vegetable and garden plants as well as grass
  • Comes from: Asia
  • Travels by: Roots, soil, plant leaves, or even on cars, trains or planes

Emerald ash borer

Image of an emerald ash borer.
  • Hurts: Ash Trees
  • Comes from: east Asia
  • Travels by: Firewood, hitch hiking on vehicles, infested nursery plants

Hemlock woolly adelgide

Image of hemlock woolly adelgid.
  • Hurts: Hemlock Trees
  • Comes from: Asia
  • Travels by: Infested nursery plants, firewood

Brown spruce longhorned beetle

Image of brown longhorned beetle.
  • Hurts: Spruce trees
  • Comes from: Europe
  • Travels by: Firewood, logs

Insects like to travel just like us. Most insects hitch a ride on things like firewood, car wheels and plant products. Use your insect cards. Where did each insect come from and what is its favourite way to travel?

Match each insect to the "vehicle" it uses to travel to and around Canada. Hint: Some insects have more than one!

Going on a trip with your family? Make sure you don't bring dirt, plants or wood back with you.

Match each insect to the 'vehicle' it uses to travel to and around Canada. Description follows.
Description of image

Two lists of images. The left side consisting of hemlock woolly adelgid, a Japanese beetle, an LDD moth, a brown longhorned beetle and an emerald ash borer, while the list on the right has a car pulling a campervan, logs, a nursery plant, a plane and a plant with leaves.

Invasive plants vs. native plants

Some plants can be villains too. Bringing new plants to new places can be dangerous to the plants native to that area.

Ask a grown-up to help you look up plants that are native to your province or territory. Pick your favourite four plants and draw them!

Good insects

Most insects are not bad. Pollinators like bees and butterflies play a big role in helping plants make food for us.

Pollinating is when good insects take pollen from one plant to another so the plants can create seeds.

Help the bee pollinate the flowers and get back to its hive.

Image of a maze where a bee must collect two flowers then get back to its hive.

The first plant health heroes

Indigenous people were the first to care for plants in Canada. Many Indigenous communities use a smart way of planting. They plant crops that will help each other, side by side. Like the three sisters!

This way of planting food is wonderful for the earth!

When you plant corn, squash and beans together, they give each other support protection and vitamins.

Colour the Three Sisters.

Image of a squash plant, corn, and a bean pod. Description follows.
Description of image

Squash: The protective sister. Outlined image of Squash plant.

Corn: the supportive sister. Outlined image of corn.

Beans: the giving sister. Outlined image of a bean pod.

How to tree check

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has special scientists who help protect plants. But we need your help too!

Find a tree in your neighborhood and inspect each part to make sure it look healthy.

The whole tree, the leaves, the branches, the trunk, the roots.

Can you spot: a branch with missing leaves, a sick leaf, an insect and holes, a crack, sawdust.

Image of a tree.
Image of a yellow and green leaf.
Image of a branch with small holes in it.
Image of a tree trunk with a crack.
Image of sawdust around the base of a tree.

Plant health hero checklist

Here are more ways you can be a plant health hero!

You've got this!

Spot a plant villain? Ask a grown-up to help you take a picture and send your photo to:

Plant health hero badge

Did you complete the plant health hero checklist? Congratulations! Now you can call yourself a plant health hero!

Plant hero badge with a plant hero image outline, name line, superpower line and favorite plant line.


  1. Colour in your plant health hero self portrait.
  2. Fill out your name, superpower & favourite plant.
  3. Cut out along the dotted lines. Carefully cut out the circles, or use a hole punch.
  4. Cut a string about 30" long. Thread the string through both holes. Tie a knot with both ends of the string.
  5. Now you can wear your badge!

We want to see you wearing your finished badge! Have a grown-up take a picture and post it to social media, using the hashtag #CDNPlantHero.


Were these words new to you?


Things like insects and plants that are foreign to Canada and are harming our plants.


A harmful insect or other animal that attacks crops, food and animals.


From another place. (like a country or province)

Native plants

Plants that have always grown in Canada.


A group of people that live together and cooperate.

Tree check

To look closely at a tree to see if it is healthy.


Can you think of something you use plants for?

Here are some ideas:

Here are some native plants to get you started on your search:

Match each insect to the 'vehicle' it uses to travel to and around Canada (answers). Description follows.
Description of the image

Image of hemlock woolly adelgid matched with logs and the plant with leaves.

Image of the Japanese beetle matched with a car pulling a campervan, a nursery plant and a plane.

Image of the LDD moth matched with a car pulling a campervan and logs.

Image of brown longhorned beetle matched with logs.

Image of emerald ash borer matched with a car pulling a campervan, logs and a plant with leaves.

Image of the trail the bee must take to find its way through the maze.

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