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Our Tree Study – Sitka Spruce in Oregon

Jedediah Smith Redwoods hiking
Jedediah Smith Redwoods – Boy Scout Tree Trail June 2011

Our camping trip to the Oregon Coast was glorious. The weather was perfect without even a sprinkle or a cold day! We enjoyed sunshine, sand, and trees all up and down the southern coast of Oregon. Although I could fill a complete post with our adventures, I want to focus on our tree study that was completed right in our campsite.

We were prepared with some notebook pages and a field guide so this was not only an easy study, it was informative and interesting. The campground had a brochure that discussed the common plants and trees to be found so it was our starting point. We read through the brochure and decided to focus our tree study on the Sitka Spruce. Turns out our campsite was surrounded by them!

We looked up the identifying marks of the spruce as well as looked at the images of the needles, the cone, and the trunk. We discovered that the Sitka Spruce is found along the fog belt of the coast of North America.

Coast Redwoods

They are not quite as tall as the Coast Redwoods we experienced most of the week but they are still very tall trees. The photo above is my husband showing how large the base of this Coast Redwood is on one of our hikes. These trees make you feel small and insignificant. We would hike along and one of these ancient ones would come into view and it would make you stop dead in your tracks. Breathtaking.

Even though the Sitka Spruce is not in the HNS, we looked up the information for the Norway Spruce and used the suggestions in Lesson 186 to learn more about spruces in general. We observed the needles, the cones, the bark, the shape of the tree, the roots like buttresses, and the way the limbs droop.

Sitka Spruce notebook page – Nature Study Set. I like to embellish mine a bit with colored pencils.

Somehow I misplaced the photos I took for our study so now I am glad that we did the sketches on the notebook pages for our journals. We enjoyed our simple vacation nature study….one of many we did on this trip.

Here are some other things we observed and read about: harbor seals, trillium, fuchsia, gumboot chiton (sea creature in the tidepools), Winter wrens, huckleberries, and owls. There is a story to every nature study we did and if I had time I would relate them all but for this entry I will stick to our tree study.

Campsite and trees
Here is the best shot I have of the Sitka Spruces around our campsite. We could have spent our week focusing on the many plants, birds, and trees of this place and not run out of interesting things to think about. Eating and sleeping under the spruces made our study even more meaningful.

Okay, do you love my new tent? It is 6 1/2 feet tall and even my really tall husband and boys can stand up inside it without rubbing their heads on the ceiling. I love the hinged door too! This was our first outing with it and I think it is going to serve us for a long time.

6 14 11 sunset and moon
Just a pretty shot I took one night while we were out for a sunset walk…the moon was incredible the whole time we were camping, a natural nightlight.

So there you go…our vacation tree study. Wish every tree study could be this up close and personal.

Day six Jedediah Smith (8)
Well maybe not that up close….my boys have decided Planking is rather a fun activity.

10 thoughts on “Our Tree Study – Sitka Spruce in Oregon

  1. Those are some BIG trees! I’m jealous! We haven’t been camping yet! We need to get out there! LOL

  2. I live in Oregon, and the coast is my favorite get away spot- I love our sitka spruce trees- so beautiful. We used to stop to see the largest Sitka in Oregon before the storn took it a few years back- so majestic!! Love your pictures and enjoy reading your blog-the nature journal entry is great!! Great post ~April

  3. Yay! Sitka spruce! One of my favorite trees, though I may be a bit prejudiced being surrounded by them here in Sitka!LOL!
    Your tent looks a lot like ours. I LOVE a tent you can stand up in! Makes a world of difference, doesn’t it?

  4. I’m planning our US History curriculum for next year and “I” just learned about Jedediah Smith.

  5. Beautiful pictures. Makes me want to visit Oregon.
    Love your blog, thanks for inspiring.

  6. Wow! Looks like a wonderful camping trip! What a beautiful place!

  7. Oh, my hubby has always wanted to go see these big trees! We did a tree study today also- our second outdoor challenge! THANK YOU again for the inspiration! With nature journals, we’re learning a lot & it is coming a live for my littles!

  8. So now do you see why I needed some direction in our Nature Studies! Its Every Where! The Chitons remain our favorite tidepool animal. Most people do not even see them, or know what they are. The boys like to play tidepool tourguides and this is the creature that brings the most surprise! We have a HUGE sitka spruce in the front yard, and live in an old growth forest – so hard to photograph that the branches look like small trees! Glad you enjoyed your trip to our backyard!!! Southernly back 40?

  9. Your photos are beautiful and what a camping spot!
    I looked up planking. I think that is something my kids would love to take up. I will share it with them 🙂

  10. I love how you used the HNS and adapted it to learn more about spruce trees. I so enjoyed your study – the photos of your chosen tree around your camp site, your tent, the redwoods! (we just watched a National Geographic special the other night redwoods and a man that climbs them to study the crowns).

    Love your nature journal entry too. Wonderful.

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