How many benefits from trees can you name? You may be surprised how many your average group of students – of any age – can name. By inviting them to share their knowledge, you can serve as a mirror, reflecting their own tree enthusiasm back to them.
Areas of Interest: Fun for Kids, Teaching, Thinking, Investigating
Ingredients: Passion for your local forest, seedlings, leaves, bark, stories, photographs/slides, paper, crayons
Directions: Set up a meeting with a youth group at your place of worship, school, park or neighborhood center. Request that each student adopt a tree1 prior to your visit. Begin your discussion by asking what they know about their adopted tree.
Ask them what they like about trees and why. It is not critical to cover every single benefit. Rather, share your passion with the students and invite them to share theirs. Bring a “bag of tricks” appropriate for the age group. This might include samples of tree parts, such as seeds, acorns, trunks, branches, bark and leaves; tree stories; photographs or slides; and crayons and paper to draw pictures. Bring flyers if you have a current project or ask if they would like to organize their own project.
Most importantly, encourage them to use their imaginations. By the time you leave, they should have a clear understanding of the possibilities trees offer.