Tree study brings such a greater understanding of the cycles of life in our own backyards as we watch the changes, growth, and means of reproducing in each tree we focus on. We learn more about the animals and other creatures that live in the tree, on the tree, and use the tree for shelter or food. It gives us a way to measure time and to anticipate the coming changes.
Learning one tree at a time is an easy way to ease into nature study if you haven’t done so yet. Let your child pick a tree in your yard or neighborhood. Even if you live in a big city you can find a tree that you walk past on a regular basis, perhaps at the library, post office, or grocery store. You can make it a casual study or more in-depth and even just finding out the name of a tree can be enough to get you started.
Now we are continuing our study of the Cottonwood tree that we started back in July 2012: For the Love of Trees. We do not have a cottonwood in our yard but there are a few around town that we have noticed. We picked a particular tree back in July and we decided to revisit it now that the season has changed.
Autumn 2012 – Cottonwood
Our cottonwood has just begun to change color and drop its leaves. I drive past this tree every week or so and I think it will be fun for us to watch and see when it looses all its leaves as the season marches on.
Here are a few of the leaves and their color. As a sidenote, now that I know what a cottonwood tree looks like and the shape of the leaves, I am seeing more and more of them as we go about our travels in our area. I can also tell by the way the leaves blow and shimmer on the trees.
We didn’t see any birds or other animals in our tree. There wasn’t any “cotton” around this time to observe. I did collect a few leaves to press and a few to add to our nature table which is getting quite crowded. I think I need to sort through and see if I can take off a few things.
Now we will be anxious to complete our study for the winter season and see what changes there are in our cottonwood. You are always welcome to join in with a year-long tree study of your own: See this entry for some ideas on how to get started: For the Love of Trees or this Four Seasons Tree Photo Project.
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