The beautiful, old silver maple tree that sits just on the other side of the fence at the school’s east-end doors has been a “tree friend” to many Grade 3/4 classes during our Trees of the Field science unit. It has allowed us to appreciate the wonder of trees and marvel at the creativity of God.
Over the years, the students have named the tree (Mr. Leafy, Barky, and Fred were a few memorable choices), used the tree’s gnarly trunk to do bark rubbings, joined hands in a circle under the tips of the crown to determine how far the roots spread underground, and picked fallen leaves off the ground for art projects.
This winter, an ice storm wreaked havoc, snapping several large branches off the tree. Twenty-six anxious children watched through the classroom window as workers from a tree service company scaled the tree to trim off broken branches. They breathed a sigh of relief when they realized that their tree friend was just getting a “hair cut” and would be OK!
We rescued one beautiful branch, bringing it into our classroom, putting it into a large pot, and decorating it with tiny twinkle lights! Our indoor “tree friend” looks like a miniature version of the larger tree that we can see through our classroom window!