Rotate to portrait orientation for better viewing.

Hug a Tree & Survive

Hug-a-Tree and Survive is an AdventureSmart program that helps lost children survive in the woods. It teaches children how not to become lost in the woods, and what to do should they become lost.

Hug-A-Tree and Survive is a great program to bring into your family, classroom, guide or scout unit, youth group, or any other community group interested in teaching kids about being safe.

If a child should become lost in the woods, hugging a tree can help them stay safe, and be found. Staying near a tree offers some protection from the elements, and keeps lost children in the same place, which makes it easier for searchers to find them.

The Hug-A-Tree Rules

Hug-A-Tree and Survive emphasizes four key rules to keeping children safe:

  • Tell an adult where you are going.

    Always tell your parents, or another trusted adult where you are going, who you are going with, and when you will be back. You can do this in person, over the phone, through a text message, or by leaving a note in a place they will see it.

  • If you are lost, “Hug-A-Tree” and stay put.

    A tree can help protect you from the elements while you’re outdoors, and most importantly, keep you in one place. Depending on where you are, there may not always be a tree. Perhaps your “tree” can be a large rock or bench at a park, or a sales counter at a mall. No matter what your landmark is, it is important to stay put, in order to stay safe.

  • Keep warm and dry.

    Temperatures change throughout the day, and can drop at night. Even if you are warm during the day, keep your jacket handy for night time. If you get cold, put on an extra layer, pull up your hood or put on your hat if you have one, tuck your shirt in, tuck pant legs into your socks, and zip up your jacket. You can also keep warm by building a nest to keep you off the ground, or by using an emergency shelter.

  • Help searchers find you by answering their calls.

    Whether searchers are parents, police officers, or SAR volunteers, remember they just want to get you home safely. Answer back to their calls by making noise and signaling, so you can be heard and seen. Make sure to leave lots of footprints and clues, so searchers can follow your tracks to find you.

While designed for the outdoors, these rules are easily transferable to other places including sporting events, shopping malls, public parks, urban areas, and much more! Together, these core points work to ensure kids have the knowledge and training needed to safely enjoy the outdoors, and their communities.

The Hug-a-Tree and Survive Presentation

The Hug-a-Tree and Survive presentation is aimed at children aged 5–11, and can be delivered by any interested adult—including parents, teachers, and guide or scout leaders—using the Presenting Hug-A-Tree guide. Alternatively, when available, trained AdventureSmart presenters are able to present the program to groups. Visit our Request a Presentation page to submit your request.

Hug-A-Tree and Survive was developed in the United States following the search for Jimmy Beveridge in 1981, and was first adapted for Canadian use by the RCMP. It was updated by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS) and the SAR Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) in 2015 with new videos and activities to support program delivery.

Important to note: AdventureSmart is a prevention program that makes key safety information available to the public and to trained presenters. Organizations that request presentations or choose to deliver this information themselves are responsible for the safety of their audiences, and AdventureSmart accepts no liability. Policies and screening procedures that ensure children are protected should always be followed, including ensuring a responsible person from your organization stays with the group throughout the presentation.

The Hug-a-Tree and Survive Video

This 12 minute video features John who is so excited to explore that he loses his way. Once he realizes he is lost, John is well-prepared, and uses his head to stay safe and be found! This age-appropriate video is a great way to show kids how not to become lost, and what to do if you are.

Click to watch the video


Download the high definition version of the video (406 MB) suitable for presentations.

View the background survival knowledge behind this program.

Hug-a-Tree session

Contact us to request this program at your school or community group.

Would you like to present the Hug-a-Tree and Survive material to a group yourself? Vist the Presenting Hug-a-Tree and Survive page to find out how.

Have you taken this program?
Give us your feedback!

Photo: Parks Canada/Tamara Tarasoff (banner)