T in the Trees Journaling Report Oct 2, 2010

Another very successful T in the Trees adventure! Our Theme had to be “Flowing Water” because this was very evident as we walked along Blockston Branch after the 6 inches or more of rain in the past 3 days. It was breezy and cool in the 60’s. Many times we stopped to marvel at the sight and sound of this precious water. The color was very coppery, evidence of water flowing through fallen and decaying leaves. Mention was made of the tannic acid color and that this chemical can carry minerals further along the banks and bottomlands, depositing them and enriching the soil in the process. At one bridge we could see the stream dividing and reforming in a ribbonlike pattern with ripples along the way.

We also crushed some leaves and smelled them. Some pearly or white everlasting in the meadow, and some paw paw leaves in the woods. We speculated on how insects or plants might use these chemicals. The zebra swallowtail butterfly needs the paw paw leaves to complete their life cycle. Someone also mentioned the monarch butterfly and milkweed and we talked about the spice bush butterfly which needs the spice bush or the sassafras tree.

Another idea came to me and we tested it. What if you were taking a blind or sight impaired person through the woods. Besides the sound of the water and the smell of the leaves, we felt the bark of the tulip tree and its interesting braiding pattern. Then we moved our hands down to the lichen areas and the mossy areas and felt the difference. Other bark such as the musclewood tree was another opportunity for a touching experience. Of course we talked about what the poison ivy vine looks like first.

One person had questions about the layers in the forest that someone remembered Ellie talking about. The downed tree gave us another chance to see what happens to this canopy over time. We could see streams of water at the bottom of the hill traversing the front side of this huge clump of downed trees. Someone said that it was so nice to have a guide point out many of these features and I thanked her. We docents do feel a growing need to help the public enjoy and understand more about nature.

Back at the visitors center we camped out in Ellie’s office (Thank you) and enjoyed our Tea and cookies. The five visitors enjoyed writing in the last of the wonderful journals. (Pat B will make more.) They shared ideas but did not read from their journals. They appreciated the special journals but suggested that a cheap notepad to write on while in the woods would be nice. (I will look into this). Copies of Teaching the Trees and Newcomb’s Wildflower guide and other items were purchased. Thanks to Lynn L and Michele W for coming up with this great idea to draw more people to our special arboretum. (We need better visibility on our Wed Page for this monthly event.)
I had a great time with these visitors from Easton and Cambridge. We had 2 staff on our walk for a total of seven. Julianna

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