A Lesson Among the Leaves - from The Messenger
For the students visiting from the Riverside Early Learning Center on Wednesday morning there were many things to learn among the trees in the Children’s Forest at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park.
One of those, according to teacher Andrea Pavik, is not making the tree itself part of the morning snack.
“We don’t taste the tree,” she said to one student who had just sampled the bark on a birch tree.
Before the taste test, the students had walked among the many species of trees and learned about each one from Pavik.
“What kind of tree is this?” she asked them.
“It’s a Christmas tree,” one student said.
The large evergreen was declared too big to bring it indoors for the holiday.
“We couldn’t pick it up,” she said.
One of the trees was already bare.
“Do you think this tree is sad?” she asked. “Maybe it is because it doesn’t have any leaves.”
The students had several tasks to complete. Each made a drawing of a tree they selected, made a rubbing of the tree’s bark and collected a few things to take home.
But not directly from the tree.
“We will take things from the tree that we find on the ground,” Pavik said. “We don’t want to pull things off the trees, that would hurt the trees.”
Many of the specimens in the Children’s Forest have signs that include their species, Latin name and the year they were planted.
One had started growing there in 1976.
“That one is older than Miss Andrea,” she told the students.
The student taste tested birch tree stood out among the many others in the area.
“What’s different about this tree,” she asked. “Its bark is white.”
One of the last trees she showed the students was an oak tree.
“What does an oak tree grow from?” she asked.
One student took a good guess.
“An apple tree,” they said.
The right answer, of course, is an acorn.
“You might find some laying on the ground here,” she said.