Make and record observations about a particular tree – make a new friend in the process! By Lisa Weinstock, RHA Educator

Duration: 15-30 minutes

Location: In your backyard

Materials: pencil, paper, crayon, clipboard

The Activity: Work in pairs or individually. Pick a tree in your backyard or nearby to your house, bring your nature journal or some paper and pencil, and ask the tree any or all of the following questions!

Begin with “Hello Tree, my name is _____ and I’d like to ask you a few questions today.”

Interview Questions To Choose From:

  • Are you a young or an old tree?
  • Has you lived here a long time? Or have you been planted here recently?
  • What is your favorite season and why?
  • Do you have any siblings nearby? (similar trees)
  • Please describe your leaves.
  • Do you grow flowers? What color are they?
  • Do you grow berries or fruits? Please describe. Who eats what you produce?
  • How do you propagate (make more trees)? (e.g. by nuts, seeds, cones)
  • What can you see from the treetop?
  • What do your roots feel underground? How deep do they reach into the earth?
  • How much do you grow every year?
  • What animals visit you or live with you? (e.g. insects, birds, mammals)
  • Are you a native tree in New Jersey?
  • Are you the NJ state tree? (search on the internet to find out what the NJ state tree is)
  • Who grows in your shade?

Make up some of your own questions to add!

Try the following:

  • Count how many steps does it take to walk around the tree’s trunk.
  • When you hug the tree, can your fingers touch from each hand? If not, how many family members would it take to hug the tree?
  • If it’s ok with the tree, use a paper and crayon to create a tree rubbing. Pick a different kind of tree and create another rubbing. How are they different? how are they the same?
  • Look for roots and find the longest root from the trunk of the tree. Measure the root with a ruler or tape measure.
  • Draw a picture of your tree!
  • Write a poem or create a story about your tree.

Wrap Up:

Afterward, gather as a whole group and compare findings. Ask each person to share their favorite interview question. Are any of these are questions that could be answered with further investigation.

Visit your tree any time you have a new questions, or whenever you think the tree might have something to say!

How did you like this activity? Please share any questions, comments, or photos that you and your child have on the Raritan Headwaters Learning Community Facebook Page!

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