Backyard Adventure

This is the time of year when it is fun to be outside and to make new friends. But do all those friends have to be human? Have you ever had a tree for a friend? Why NOT?

With your parent find a tree that interests you. Some trees are not as friendly as others to humans, so let an adult who knows something about trees in your area help you.

Now that you have picked your new friend you need to really look at your tree. Start at the other side of the yard from the tree and really look it over from top to bottom. Keep looking it over as you walk towards it. When you are about six feet from it, walk around the tree noticing every detail.
Now it is time the get up close and personal with the tree. Be sure to be gentle with your touch so that you do not harm your new friend.Touch and smell its bark. If you can run your hands up the trunk and out some on the lower branches of the tree.

Take a close look at its leaves. Touch them, rub your fingers lightly over the top and bottom of the leaves. Does the top feel different than the bottom? If it is in bloom, touch and smell the buds. Be gentle, they can be easily hurt.
See if your new friend is a home to any other living things like moss, ants, squirrels, or birds.

Hug the tree. Sit with your back to the tree and see how it would view your yard, or lay down the tree looking up through the branches.Relax and enjoy just being under your new friend.

Now that you have a tree friend. You need treat it nicely as you would any friend you want for years to come. Don't drive nails into it. Don't pick at it bark. Protect it from fire. Reduce the amount of paper you use, reuse it, and when you are done recycle it. That will help your friend to have a better chance at a nice long life.
Visit your new friend often and watch how it changes throughout the year.
You may want to make a bark or leaf rubbing so you can remember your friend when you are separated.

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