When our first tree expert came, she told us the ivy growing on our huge tree was hurting it. Today we set out on a mission to save the tree. A small group when to the back alley to get to the base of the tree and the base of the ivy. We learned we could not save the tree…in just one day. There is a TON of ivy. But the children were dedicated and excited to snip the ivy roots and we will return. Sally, lover of all living things, said “The poor ivy!” We are killing one thing to save another. Is there a way to care for both?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, a group of friends examine the ivy and gave the tree a different kind of love.
Later in the morning, our second tree expert Pat came to visit the Rainey Room. She asked what we had learned so far, so we started by showing her what we’ve been working on and thinking about. Several children shared their drawings and paintings of tree buds and what they think is inside. We then discussed all of the things that trees give us, including fruit and nuts. Pat also brought along some walnuts and pecans for us to sample.
Lou Lou: Some trees give us syrup.
Will: They also give us apples.
Jack: They give us air.
Kian: And coconuts.
Jack: They also make orange juice.
When Pat pointed to the wooden chair sitting next to her, and said that trees give us furniture, some friends agreed and others didn’t see the connection. Maybe this can be something we investigate in the future?
We went on to talk about different animals who depend on trees in one way or another—for both habitat and food source. Lou Lou observed that birds eat the berries from trees. Jossie noted that beavers needed trees to build their houses and Elle added they also eat the trees. Kian said he knew gorillas needed trees, but wasn’t sure why. Maybe another topic for future research?
We had lots of questions for Pat. Lou Lou asked why the ivy climbs up the tree. Pat explained that it is trying to grow up to the light. Also, as the ivy climbs higher, it changes gender and as it does so the shape of the leaves change. It also makes berries when it’s up higher. She explained that ivy doesn’t hurt the trunk of the tree as it’s growing, but when it gets high enough to cover the branches it can block the leaves from getting sunlight. Another way ivy hurts trees is that when a tree’s branches are covered in ivy it picks up more wind and is more susceptible to storms.
Kian asked how a storm can blow down only one tree? Pat said it’s complicated, but often a tree is sick and you can’t tell from the outside, so the tree is weaker than others around it and is more easily blown over.
Elle asked why ivy climbs one tree and not others? Pat said it was just luck.
Jack asked how tree buds open. Pat explained that when the tree feels warm weather, it pushes water up through the limbs to the buds, and the water pushes them open.
Will asked if coconut trees have buds. Pat explained that a coconut is just a big seed. Elle had asked a question in advance about why some bananas are green and some are yellow. Pat explained that they are in different stages of maturity or ripening.
Lou Lou asked last week why rose trees fall down when it’s windy. Pat explained that sometimes roses don’t have strong roots, or the roots have rotted, so they get knocked down by the wind.
In response to Austin’s question last week about whether cutting limbs off the tree hurts the tree, Pat told us a lot of amazing things about trees and other plants. Scientists studying trees have found that a tree in the forest that is attacked by an insect, for example, can send a message to other tress letting them know to protect themselves. Also, there is research showing that plants in general respond differently—either through a positive or negative vibration—to different people based on how the people have treated them. So they respond with different wavelength to someone who waters and cares for them, versus someone who has cut off their branches. She said that scientists had also seen trees respond to music through vibrations, and described a project in France in which scientists connected trees to synthesizers and recorded music trees made in response to music played to them. And the trees even taught each other to make music! So, trees do feel something when we cut them, but sometimes it's necessary to help the tree and they understand when people have to trim them to keep them healthy. Trees do heal and usually they are fine.
After Pat’s visit, we all drew pictures of the stories ands ideas we found most interesting. Jack drew a bud being pushed open by water. Kian drew a forest of trees in which one tree with leaves on his head and body was getting pushed by wind and lightning. It was a fantastic visit with so many questions and new ideas to explore! Many thanks to Brittney for introducing us to Pat!
by Lisa & Rachael
Pieces of Tucker Room experiences.