What Trees Provide. Introduction

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1 What Trees Provide Introduction Have you ever looked at a tree and imagined what it provides for the plant community it belongs to? How do trees enhance the entire habitat that they are found in? You have now been introduced to tree names, both scientific and common, and why we collect through expeditions around the world or in our backyard (Lesson 1 and 2). Now the challenge is to think about these questions: what do trees do? What do trees provide? Consider what you, as a person, do for your community. Do you pick up trash? Help your neighbors? Bake cookies for your friends? Often times we forget about opportunities in our communities because we are busy going to school, work, etc. Luckily for us we can do our part in our community when we have time, but trees are helping their communities all of the time. Environmental Consider the important roles that trees play in their habitats. Think about what they provide for the environment in which they live and why it is important to trees. Food Consider what types of food humans, animals and insects get from trees. Think about how much they rely on this food and what would happen if certain trees disappeared. Manufactured Consider what types of things are made from trees. How do humans use trees? What parts of trees do we use? Are they a renewable resource? Why is it important to plant more of them? Why should certain areas be protected? This activity highlights four trees that are located in the Butterfly Garden, at Smithsonian Gardens, and will help guide you as you consider the questions on the activity pages. This garden was planted with the goal to highlight the habitats that butterflies and bees live in. The plants chosen for the garden play some sort of role in the life cycle needs for butterflies. ommon Name River birch Eastern redbud Northern prickly Ash Common hackberry cientific Name Betula nigra Hertiage Cercis canadensis Zanthoxylum americanum Celtis occidentalis

2 What Trees Provide Vocabulary Renewable resource Habitat Ethnobotany Environmental Manufactured Learning Goals: Get students to develop their critical thinking skills by observing their surroundings Cause students to work on communication skills by working together Engage students and allow them to be creative Introduce concepts of habitat and help students to understand the importance of trees and what they provide What you ll need: Activity sheet and notebook Colored pencils Sources: The USDA provides excellent Fact Sheets Visit their website at search for the plant name and make use of valuable facts For younger kids: The Giving Tree. By Shel Silverstein. New York: Harper & Row, The Busy Tree. By Jennifer Ward. Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb,

3 What Trees Provide Activity: 1. In the classroom or at home: Review the introduction and handout the Tree Cards for the four trees highlighted from the Butterfly Garden. Have students complete Activity Part I. This will guide students to consider what trees provide for us and what they do in their own habitats. 2. On your walk in the Butterfly Garden at Smithsonian Gardens: Use the pictures on the tree cards to identity the four trees in the garden to be used for the Activity Part II and the skills they learned from lesson 1, Tree of Tree and Lesson 2, Tree Expedition. Discuss the information provided on the cards about the trees and show them one of the Fact Sheets from the USDA. o If you cannot make it to the garden, then review the cards in your classroom. Go into your schoolyard or local park. Take a walk with your students to the tree and observe any activities in and around the tree. Have students work on Activity Part II and record their answers to the questions for each tree and encourage them to take any other notes. If you are in your local area, then have them complete the activity sheet, based on the tree cards, and ask if the same answers could apply to the tree you are visiting. What do the trees in the butterfly garden provide? What do they do for their habitat and the environment? 3. In the classroom or at home: After returning, have the students complete Activity III. This will summarizes parts I and II and allow for great discussions regarding the wealth of products and services trees provide. Ask students if they were aware of how much trees provided. For younger students: Have them draw a picture of a tree and describe what they think trees do for them and their community. For older students: have them research a type of tree, maybe something from their yard, and have them present their results to the class. What novel fact did they find? How was the tree used in the past? Note: This lesson could also be used to introduce photosynthesis or other topics about a community ecosystem.

4 Tree Cards for the Butterfly Garden: River birch (Betula nigra Hertiage ) -In the garden: provides wind protection, food and nesting sites for butterflies -General: for wildlife, buds are browsed by white-tailed deer, seeds are eaten by grouse, turkeys, small birds and rodents -used for timber -used as buffers and to help with erosion in certain areas Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) -In the garden: this tree provides a place for butterflies to hide and cool off in hot weather and the flowers also provide food for butterflies and honeybees -General: Native Americans used the bark to treat medical symptoms; deer, squirrels, quail, songbirds, browse the foliage, buds, seeds, or twigs

5 Northern prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum ) -In the garden: butterflies and bees use the flowers as food sources -General: Many ethnobotanic, or human uses of plants are described for this tree. For example, Native American Indians used the bark, roots, and berries to make teas and other infusions that treated certain aliments. -birds and small mammals also eat the fruit Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) -In the garden: provides food for the larval stage of some butterflies -General: provides shelter for game birds, rabbits, and in some places deer -fruit is eaten by birds and they make nests in these -grows in moist soils and helps control erosion

6 Activity Part I: Observe the classroom: How many objects do you see that come from a tree? Make a list: List ways we use trees. List the ways animals and insects use trees. How many items did they come up with? Do you notice something new about trees?

7 Activity Part II: River birch (Betula nigra Hertiage ) What does this tree provide? Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) What does this tree provide? Who benefits from this tree? Who benefits from this tree? Do we use this tree? Do we use this tree? Northern prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) What does this tree provide? Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) What does this tree provide? Who benefits from this tree? Who benefits from this tree? Do we use this tree? Do we use this tree?

8 Activity Part III: What do trees provide? Environmental Consider the important roles that trees play in their habitats. Think about what they provide for the environment in which they live and why it is important to trees. List as many things you can think of that describe how trees help the environment. Food Consider what types of food humans, animals and insects get from trees. Think about how much they rely on this food and what would happen if certain trees disappeared. List as many foods as you can think of that come from trees. Manufactured Consider what types of things are made from trees. How do humans use trees? What parts of trees do we use? Are they a renewable resource? Why is it important to plant more of them? Why should certain areas be protected? List as many things you can think of that describe how we use trees in manufactured goods.

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