Sunday, January 20, 2008

Make Friends With a Tree: How to Make Tree Bark Rubbings and a Tree Shaped Poem

Trees have different shapes depending not only on their species, but on their living conditions. Bring a journal or field notebook while taking a walk in a nearby park or woods and look at the shapes of the trees growing in swampy areas, open areas, sloped areas, mountain tops. Notice the shapes of the trees and the characteristics of their bark (smooth or rough), leaves (net veined or parallel veins), branches (alternate or opposite). Materials: a sheet of light weight paper for each type of tree you want to study- newsprint paper works well a dark color (preferably fat) wax crayon, and a piece of string or thin rope long enough to tie around the trunk Procedure: 1. Poke holes in the top corners of your paper 2. Thread your string through one hole, wrap it around the tree trunk and tie the end to the other hole 3. Remove the paper from your crayon 4. Hold the crayon horizontally, rubbing it in one direction from the top of your page to the bottom. Make a scrap book of your rubbings What can you learn about each tree? Notice the texture (smooth or rough) the pattern of the bark, the thickness of the trunk. Study the tree in winter, spring, summer and autumn. What differences do you notice? Upon return to the classroom, look up the identity of the tree in a field guide, and then write a poem so that the words form the shape of the tree and reflect something about one or more characteristics of the tree. Here is an example: I Chop White pine Needles, steep them In boiled water to make tea That warms and nourishes my body And my spirit when brutal northeast wind Forces me to abandon my hike and seek shelter Indoors JJ Murphy is a freelance writer who helps companies, small businesses and individuals to express their awareness and dedication to developing sustainable technology and to preserve our natural resources. She writes articles for natural magazines, hiking publications, simple living publications in print and online. She also creates curricula to help public schools home schooling groups, private schools, wilderness camps, adult learning groups, and continuing education programs stretch and expand their students’ knowledge. She holds a Master of Arts degree from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and a B.A. degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. Her client list includes writers, business consultants, motivational speakers, psychologists, financial planners, educators, and politicians. Visit her website for articles, wild food recipes and for more information, including JJ s favorite places for gear and supplies.

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