Last Wednesday, January 31 marked the ending of the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat—the Jewish New Year for trees. Tu B’Shevat is a celebration of trees and all the resources trees provide. The celebration of this holiday serves as reinvigoration of appreciation for these amazing lifeforms.
Trees provide a wonderful way to connect kids to their natural world. There are many ways to promote mindfulness about our environment by helping kids consider all the ways trees enrich our lives. Trees are important symbols of life and systems.
One fun idea for appreciating and understanding the changes and lifecycles of trees is to “adopt a tree”. To do this, locate a beloved tree in area that is visited often. Draw the tree, measure the tree, name the tree, recognize all the wonderful things about that tree. Keep a tree journal where reflections, drawings and data about that tree are collected in different seasons throughout the year. Consider: How does the tree change? What habitats does the tree create for other living creatures? How is the tree unique?
Trees are amazing.
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.