April 19, 2010 in Features

Invest quality time in Arbor Day fun

Donna Erickson
King features photo

King features Standing in front of the cross section of a 2,200-year-old redwood tree in California, Robert Anson shows son Gabriel the ring formed in 1620, when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
(Full-size photo)

Meandering through the awe-inspiring nature trail at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in California over spring break, I heard a boy ask as he stared upward at a giant tree in front of him, “How many dads would you have to stand on top of each other to reach the top of the tree?”

“That’s the first time anyone has asked me that good question,” said 72-year-old docent Lenny Gerstein.

“The tree is almost 270 feet tall, so at 6 feet per dad, that would probably be about 45 dads. Now almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty, it actually grew from a seed about the size of an oatmeal flake,” he said.

Trees can be old and tall, and they can enrich our lives in many ways. Docent Lenny reminded us to put April 30 on our calendars and to get outside and discover new ways to celebrate Arbor Day with our families.

Here are some ideas:

1. Enjoy a healthy start to the day by adding fruits and nuts from trees to your breakfast cereal. Then challenge your kids to identify 10 things in the kitchen that come from trees.

2. Plant a tree this spring and watch it grow through the years.

3. While in the produce section of a market, talk about where in the world tree fruits come from. While kiwi and coconuts come from far away, apples, peaches and almonds might have grown nearby.

4. Go outside with your child and look up at the trees in your yard or a nearby park. Talk about what trees provide in our daily lives, such as cleaner air, shade and wood for homes, skateboards and a backyard deck.

Consider what trees provide for wildlife, too.

5. Find a tree stump, and count the rings to discover its age.

Find more activities at www.arborday.org.

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