Close your eyes and picture a tree—what does it look like? I’m guessing many of us imagined a specific tree. Maybe it is the last tree you saw, outside your office window. Or perhaps it’s a tree that you remember from your childhood—a tree that took root in your backyard or a tree that grew at a nearby park, one that you climbed more times that you can count.
I picture a crab apple tree that stands in my parent’s front yard. A tree that is the backdrop to my childhood, marking moments big and small, growing as my family grew. It held a blanket of snow and lights each December and blossomed each spring to let us know it was time to shed our hats and gloves and get out our rain boots and umbrellas. Birds built nests in its branches and pollinators fed on its flowers. Fallen leaves created a hiding place for worms, beetles and pill bugs amongst a sea of grass. That tree still stands there today, marking the changing of the seasons as it always has.
Does your family have a tree you visit on walks outside? A tree you look at through your window, watching for squirrels to chase each other around and around its trunk? If not, we recommend you choose a tree to “adopt” as a family. Visit your tree throughout the year and ask your child to make observations about how it changes. Does it look different in the morning than the evening? What color are the leaves in fall? When does the last leaf drop in winter? Is your tree home to birds, bats or bugs? Can you recognize your tree by the way it smells?
Touch its bark and throw its leaves in the air. Take photos, draw pictures, have a picnic beneath its branches. Plant your tree a friend and watch it grow. Learn from your tree. Hug your tree. Appreciate your tree. Make your tree a part of your family. Grow up and remember your tree.
How do we adopt a tree, you ask? Start here with Project Learning Tree!
Mind Blowing Tree Fact: Did you know there are more trees on Earth than there are stars in the Milky Way? Amazing, isn’t it?!
Want to do more to help trees? Click the image below to learn 7 easy things you can do as a family.
Written by Emily Van Laan