We've embarked on a study of trees this fall. It's loose and casual and is mostly a reason to commune out in the forest. We're learning about how trees work, how to identify trees, how to draw trees, and reading stories about trees. We decided to start with one of our favorites, the beech tree at The Ridges (I wrote about it many years ago, here). She's lost a favorite low limb of ours, but she is still magnificent, gnarled and huge.
We used Clare Walker Leslie's tips from Keeping a Nature Journal to guide us in our drawings, starting with blind contours and then modified contours.
Eliza is much faster than Ani or I, and got to her own rendering of the tree.
We've since been out to a few different places through the fall, doing more of the same, noticing the shapes of trees. We take along our nature journals, drawing pencils, colored pencils and a couple of tree guides. I'm also enjoying using The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grownups for some basic info on the how's of trees. Much of it seems to be just reminding the girls of information they've picked up, but then introduces some more specific terms like xylem and phloem.
We'll keep adding to our study as the year progresses. We've been looking at leaves, of course, which seems to be a recurring thing for us (!), and I've always wanted to challenge myself to learn to identify trees by their bark and by their winter tree buds. We'll see if I get some company on that venture...