Last week, I helped teach the "Terrific Trees" 4-H summer camp. The workshop was based on the book Remarkable Trees of Virginia by Nancy Hugo and Jeff Kirwan. We wanted participants to appreciate great trees--big ones, old ones, historical trees, and just truly remarkable trees in Montgomery County.
Black Willow Virginia Tech Duck Pond July 21, 2009
The first tree we visited was in the book under campus trees since it is on the Virginia Tech campus. The Black Willow, unlike the Weeping Willow, is native to Virginia. The kids couldn't resist climbing up into the Black Willow. We learned that an extract from the bark is used to make aspirin.
Green Heron Virginia Tech Duck Pond July 21, 2009
While the children were doing measurements, I spotted this Green Heron ---only about 50 feet from where the tree was.
Bur Oak, Virginia Tech campus July 21, 2009
Not far away was another tree---a bur oak that grew near the Virginia Tech Massacre memorial on the Drill Field. This tree is remarkable for its huge crown spread. You can get an idea of the size of this tree by the cars that are parked next to it--they look like toys!
White Oak, Blacksburg, Virginia
The homeowner was happy to talk about the large white oak she has taken care of since she moved here in 1962. She said that the tree was her house's air conditioner. Both the Black Willow and this White Oak are in the Remarkable Trees book.
Red Maple Pilot, Virginia July 22, 2009
This red maple tree grew in a large rock on a farmer's land. His daughter nominated the tree for the Remarkable Tree database. I first demonstrated how to sketch the tree and the children followed suit. Their sketches were quite good.
American Chestnut Selu Preserve, Riner, Virginia
The final tree is remarkable for just being alive--it's a 15 feet tall American Chestnut. Researchers are trying to restore the American Chestnut which vanished as the major tree in American forests due to chestnut blight. This is the only tree that survived of the dozen or so seedlings that were planted.
I didn't post some of the photos of the other trees we visited but all were truly terrific! I hope the children will go on to appreciate how valuable trees are.