Download a .pdf copy of the tree trail here
We have created a wonderful way to get out in the fresh air with a tree trail adventure. The benefits are numerous; we get to go outdoors, welearn to read maps, we find out how to identify trees, we have fun, not to mention all the benefits for our mental health and wellbeing of just being immersed in green, communing with nature.
When I consider the educational opportunities for learning through nature I think trees offer an endless resource. To really identify a tree you have to engage closely with the tree in observing its leaf, trunk, fruit and shape amongst other things. You have to employ all your senses to recognise the clues, the characteristics of the tree; discerning by touch, by scent or even by listening. It is only when you truly employ all these skills that you begin to “see” and it is such a rewarding feeling to be able to confidently identify that tree.
Trees can be used to explain the seasons in their greater sense, to explain life systems, to explore organisational systems and there is no end to the interesting facts about trees that relate to culture, folklore, history, medicine, science, geography, every tree has a treasure of stories to yield…
Another aspect of exploration is the magic that goes on underground invisible to us and the idea of trees communicating with one another, of having a consciousness so to speak, for example of a parent tree feeding nutrients via mycelium networks to an offspring tree. Trees communicating with one another across a large area; we are only beginning to comprehend this. Not to mention the miracle of photosynthesis and harnessing the sun’s energy to grow and flourish.
What about the exploration of deep ecology through examining trees. 385 million years ago primitive fern like trees evolved on planet earth, far sooner than homo sapiens! We and trees are interrelated, we are part of the web of life just as they are. What does this mean, how can it impact our behaviour when it comes to trees?
And why are trees so important in sequestering carbon, what does that mean and how does it work?
Also look at all the life that trees support, why are native species so important when considering this aspect?
Mostly though who isn’t enriched by loving a tree, by feeling a deep connection to these life forms that grace and enhance our lives.
We encourage you to take a trip down to the Marina to the Meadow Park and have fun using our tree trail.
If you want to start your own trail in your school or neighbourhood and need help send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Young, Green Spaces for Health Coordinator, Cork City