Students in the Outdoor Program have been studying the trees for their Science section. Each student has chosen a tree that they have adopted as his or her own. This was not done in one class period. In fact, students hiked through the Arboretum multiple times, observing, drawing and recording data on multiple trees in learning tree identification. They gathered leaf samples, took observational notes on their tree, and looked at the tree from many angles. They decided if the tree was receiving enough sunlight, if it was in competition with other trees, and if it had berries or fruit or nuts or flowers. In addition, they returned to their classroom with their samples and analyzed them. Students used a website, https://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/, to help them identify their tree.
To extend this activity and to add a component of artistic expression to the Science lesson, students adopted their tree and represented in watercolor. This allowed students to see their tree with a different lens. They developed new perspective of their tree, as they focused on the details, colors and textures of the tree. This artistic interpretation will be a year long exercise, as they document the changes their trees go through in the changing seasons.