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I like your challenge of "not hitting the kids over the head....."
Here is an idea for a project playing off the 1000 Oaks - Like kids, there
is an incredible diversity out there in nature that may be paired with
I remember a great project a teacher did after a visit I'd made - we played
with images of baseball trading cards and kids, instead of sports figures,
chose their own tree to more or less adopt, then created beautiful cards of
their chosen tree, no two alike. On one side, they made images of trees,
their seeds, leaves, or maps of distribution and other natural history
imagery. On the backside, they did research to come up with facts about the
trees, where they grow best - that kind of thing. The finished product is a
Beyond that, though, would be a great step into planting a truly diverse
forest for the future if these kids found a way to each plant one or more
of their own tree. A far more ambitious way to create a "natural garden,"
this could be done in a way to mimic the ecosystem --- say, have kids
choose the plants needed to make up all the puzzle pieces of an Arizona
forest. If an entire school were involved in this kind of project, a
planting of 500 species could be quite amazing, quite helpful. And, at the
same time, learning how to help the diversity in nature is not an easy task
for us - the real world is so messy, so disordered. (PS give me your
mailing address and I'll send samples of the cards if you like.)