Today, April 25th is Arbor Day and I’m here to talk about trees.
I love trees. We have a lot of trees on our 7 Acre Wood. All kinds of trees. Trees full of birds and squirrels and good smells. Trees that sing when the winds come blowing up the river valley. Old trees that have seen lots of history. Young trees that are just coming into their own. They all have stories to tell.
We’ve been in a big drought the last few years and have lost quite a few of our lovely trees. It’s a very sad thing when a tree dies. It’s like losing a good friend.
Theme – trees, the environment, pollution, dealing with loss
a fiction book suitable for age 5 and up
It begins –
Every afternoon, when the weather’s nice, Mom and I and our sheepdog, Cinco, walk across Far Meadow and sit under our oak tree. Dad says the tree may have been here when Columbus came to America.
This is the story of a tree. And the family that loves and honors the tree. They spend happy hours under its branches – picnicking, reading, napping, telling stories. Sometimes other people stop and share the shade of this big, friendly tree.
One day the young girl notices that the grass under the tree is turning yellow and smells funny. A tree doctor comes to look at the tree and after doing tests on the soil and the leaves, tells the family that the tree has been poisoned. Someone has dumped chemicals underneath it. Word of this disaster gets around the small town and everyone comes and volunteers with help to try and save the tree. They dig out the poisoned dirt around the trunk and put in new soil. The fire department comes out and sprays water on the leaves. Some folks come wrap sacking around the leaves to protect them from the sun. People leave get well cards and heart balloons.
The family watches as the tree slowly dies. It is heartbreaking. But in the middle of one night, the young girl remembers the acorns that she collected before the tree got sick. The next day, she and Cinco go out and plant those acorns and a wish and hope that new trees will grow – Someday.
There is a famous tree in Austin, Texas called the Treaty Oak that is estimated to be over 500 years old. The story in the book is identical to the story of our Treaty Oak. In 1989, the tree was deliberately poisoned with a powerful herbicide. It made national news and all kinds of help came pouring in to save the tree. It did survive and is a monument to the strength that can be found in an oak tree. You can find out more about this remarkable tree HERE.
HERE is an interview with Ms Bunting from Reading Rockets.
To celebrate Arbor Day — go out and plant a tree!!
Or at least find one to sit under and admire – draw it, study it – what kind of critters do you see in its branches and in its trunk? Have a picnic. Climb in its branches. Maybe make some MUSIC! Enjoy!!