Trees Sharing

A New Scout Experience

A couple of years ago, Mookie was a part of an American Heritage Girls troop in Topeka but the cost was a little more than our limited budget could handle, not to mention the gas & time it took for the hour round trip. So, we sat out a year and prayed that we would find something similar that was more of a fit for us as a family. Well, we found it! A homeschooling friend of ours turned us on to a Christian-based scouting program that can be done independently or as a group­—what a blessing! It’s through Keepers of the Faith with their Keepers at Home program. Several other homeschooling families were also interested so we created our own group that is going to meet once a month.

We had our first meeting Friday and had a blast! The subject was tree identification. We met at a friend’s house who has several acres and an ample amount of trees and gathered examples of 10 specimens as we hiked around her lake. The girls (and moms) had a blast! The weather was a perfect fall day and the fall colors were just beautiful! Mookie and her friend pretended that they were Indian princesses on the trip, “you can be Pocahontas, and I’ll be Sacagawea”. Of course it wasn’t all work, the girls took time out to pet the local “wildlife”. We then retired back to the house for some excellent hot cocoa and trail mix provided by our leaders for the day.

It is such an answer to prayer to have this opportunity to do scouting with our friends! Next month, I’m helping lead the meeting and we’re going to have tea parties as our topic!

Wendi in Kansas

Trees and the Fruits of the Spirit

Our young club is working on the trees badge. The ten girls are ages 5-9. The Scripture in the handbook, Proverbs 11:30, with questions to answer sent me to the Lord for help on just how to discuss this with such little girls. The idea He gave me was a game which I used as "lesson time" at our meeting. Proverbs 11:30 says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that wins souls is wise."

First, we discussed what kind of fruit this verse might mean. Many of the girls already knew the fruits of the Spirit. Then we talked about what is a righteous person. Then we played a game about fruit, righteous people, and trees. For the game, each girl drew a card that had a real life situation that might actually happen to a girl their age. Then they answered the question, "What would a righteous girl do in this situation?" After giving this answer, we talked about which fruit this would be demonstrating. Then the girl hung a "fruit" (construction paper with a fruit of the Spirit written on it) on an artificial tree. We talked about how others can benefit from the fruit we bear. The girls were to go home and write answers to the questions in their pink Keepers Handbooks, with mom's help as needed.  (Nicholson, GA)

Studying Trees Leads to a Tree of Life Lesson

For our tree notebooks, the Keepers Handbook directs us to note if the various trees we found are mentioned in the Bible. I was surprised myself to find just how many specific trees are in the Bible. Here are just a few: Almond (Gen. 43:11 and more), Apple (Song of Solomon 2:3), Ash (Isaiah 44:14), Bay (Psalms 37:35), Cedar (1 Kings 10:27), Chestnut (Ezekiel 31:8), Fig (Duet. 8:8), Fir (Ps 104:17), Oak (Isaiah 41:19), Pine (Isaiah 41:19), Sycamore (Luke 19:4), Willow (Ezekiel 17:5), and many more!!! Maybe these Scripture references will help someone get started as they begin to search the Scriptures for more trees! (I thought I was doing Keepers at Home for my daughters, but I sure am learning alot myself!!!)

Here is an idea which fulfills item #11 for the Tree badge. Our Keepers at Home group incorporated it into lesson time at our last meeting. Proverbs 3:18 says that wisdom "is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her." The Tree badge requires that the girls answer two questions about this verse: How is wisdom a tree of life, and why is it important to retain her?

Keeping this lesson on a kid-friendly level required much thought and prayer on my part. We used an artificial tree to be our "tree of life" and hung a sign on the tree that said "WISDOM." We discussed how children come to know things (learn from parents, teachers, relatives, friends, reading the Bible and other books, etc.) and how that knowledge can grow into wisdom when we obey the good things. We have to learn and form good habits, and live to please the Lord. I made up scenarios that might happen to a Keepers at Home young girl and the girls had fun letting me know what a wise vs. an unwise response to the situation might be. We also talked about the need to stay on a wise path vs. "losing" our wisdom and gave examples in that area. I gave each girl a sheet with Prov. 3:18 and the two questions from the handbook. We pasted it into our tree notebooks and they took it home to discuss with their parents and write an answer to the questions. It will be a nice addition to their tree notebooks.  (Nicholson, GA)

Good Ideas for Tree Notebook

Our Little Keepers at Home club had a wonderful nature walk to kick off our study of trees! A local retired age teacher with experience in tree identification came to my home where our club meets. He took us on a walk on our farm and taught us SO much about trees! (I learned alot about the trees on our farm!) Each girl took along a 2-gallon zip-lock bag with her name on it. Each girl collected leaves for her required tree notebook in these bags. I took along a pen and an old phone book to put my leaves in. Thus, I was able to immediately put my leaf in the phone book (which would be later used to press the leaves), as well as write down the name of the tree and any interesting information that our tree expert/friend told us along the way. All of this information was conveniently written on the very page where that leaf was to be pressed.

At the end of the walk we came back into the house and organized our leaves for pressing. I used my phone book of leaves and information to show the girls what type of leaf to pull from their bag, and tell them the name of the tree to write in the old phone book they had each brought from home. It was a wonderful instant review on all that we had just learned. When each girl left the meeting, she had her phone book filled with leaves and the names of the trees from which they came. Each girl took her phone book home to stack heavy books upon it for 2 weeks until our next meeting. "No peeking!" I told them! They will bring their phone books back next meeting and we will begin to put them in our tree notebooks. All of this took the whole meeting time except for a brief assembly time, but it was a very enjoyable meeting!

A Follow Up . . . Here's a simple but fun item to add to your tree notebook: Give each girl a piece of typing paper and a crayon with the paper peeled off. Go outside and identify a tree. Of course, you'll want to collect a leaf for pressing. Ask the girls to hold their paper against the tree bark. They should hold their crayon on its side and color the paper. The pattern of the bark will appear on the paper. The same can be done for a leaf rubbing by laying a leaf, vein-side up on a flat surface, and covering it with your paper. Again use the crayon on its side to color over the paper. The result will be a beautiful leaf rubbing. We placed the bark rubbing and the leaf rubbing in our tree notebooks.

A Follow Up . . . We wrote to tell you of the wonderful nature walk our Keepers at Home Club had to collect and identify leaves from different trees. Each girl pressed the leaves in an old phone book and brought the phone book of leaves to the next meeting for use in making our Tree Notebook. Here are a few details on how we put our tree notebooks together at the following meeting. I hope this information will help someone to be more efficient with this project.

Each girl received a glue stick and a notebook (the kind with the sewn binding... usually costs around $1.00). Ahead of time I did a little preparation that saved us more time than I anticipated. On the computer, for each girl, I printed the name of each tree that would be represented in our tree notebooks. I cut these little tree "titles" down to size. This ended up saving us alot of time because each girl only had to use her glue stick to put the name of the tree on the page. I also made copies of pictures of most of the trees or leaves (from a tree identification book) for each girl to paste on the page with the name of the tree. On the opposite page we placed the pressed leaf. We use clear contact paper to protect and secure the leaf to the page. I had pre-cut the contact paper and this was a HUGE time-saver. We were able to get all 12 of our leaves in the notebook along with the name of the tree and a picture of it.

This was a fast-paced activity, but the girls stuck to it well. We plan to add more information to our tree notebooks soon, but I thought we got off to a good start. When finished, I know each girl will treasure her notebook!  (Nicholson, GA)

A Very Good Idea - A Field Trip at Home

I wanted to share one of the ways we fulfilled the requirement for the tree badge. We live on a few acres and I have always wanted to identify many of the trees on our property. We have several guide books but for a novice like myself, most were just to hard to figure out. In our city, we have a nature center called the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve and they have all kinds of programs and field trips for schools and families. I decided to ask if they would be willing to come to my house and help identify my trees, and they said yes. For $50, two outstanding naturalists came to my home and helped my kids identify 25 trees. I invited four other families so we each paid $10 and our children got a wonderful three hour field trip! We numbered our trees with metal numbers so now we have a great tree trail with 25 identified trees and some interesting information about each one. If you don't have a nature center near by, the local college or extension service might have someone who would be willing to come to your house.  (Leeds, AL)