Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter Challenge #5 Pine Tree Study

Outdoor Hour button

Well the snow finally came off the roof.  We all breathed a sigh of relief.  Our news here in upstate New York has been littered with reports of barn, house, and even a sports dome roof collapsing.  The good news is that the weather has been a bit warmer, in the 30's, which is perfect weather for the outdoor hour.  This week we are focusing on pine trees.

Last fall we collected a number of pinecones for the compare and contrast study, so we knew right where we wanted to go.   We bundled up, packed the camera and sleds and headed to Crandall Park.  Crandall Park is an old park in the city of Glens Falls.  The park was originally created by Henry Crandall a local lumberman and entrepreneur.  I believe it was built in the late 1800s.

The trees on the property vary in age, but it has been what I call "clean-out" forest for a long time.  There is very little brush and it has the dim lighting of a mature forest.  I have very fond memories of playing there as a child, and hope that my children will build there own memories there.
Even in the cold of winter, the faint smell of pine needles permeate the air.  We were able to walk on the snow, due to the fact that we had some freezing rain.  It created that crust that make it much easier to navigate without snowshoes.


We all laid down in the snow beneath an Eastern White Pine.  We soaked in the silence, waited and watched for any animal activity.  We saw nothing by the beautiful  presence of these tall giants.  It was delightful.


Here is the view look up....how fun.  

When we got up the boys collected needles from the Eastern White Pine and a Norway Spruce.  Here is a picture of that tree.  All of the pinecones were buried under the snow.  
We grabbed the sleds from the car and took a few runs down the hill.  One of the shots will give you the perspective on how large these trees are.  That is a wrapped trunk in the background.  
On our way out of the park we spotted some woodpecker 
holes that the boys found interesting.  



When we returned home we did a bit of a compare and contrast between the Norway Spruce and the Eastern White Pine.   Here is what we found. 

Norway Spruce                                      White Pine
individual needles                                needles in clusters of 5
curved needles                                      straight needles
3/4 inch needle length                       2 inch needle length
strong pine smell                                  faint pine smell
light green color                                   light green color
The boys created rubbings of each of the needles on their notebook page.


I had made field guides in the fall for our pinecone study, so I dug those out of our portfolio boxes for today's work. We looked up the Norway Spruce and Eastern White Pine for our final reference of the day.




5 comments:

Our Side of the Mountain said...

What AWESOME perspective photos of pine trees! LOVE that they were looking up! VERY neat! Great journaling pages!

Jessy
http://oursideofthemtn.blogspot.com

Heather said...

I have to say I have never seen woodpecker holes that large, and have certainly not seen pine trees that large around down here in the south.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

What a fun pine study! I love looking at things from a fresh perspective and I would imagine laying down puts you at the same level as your boys, seeing through their eyes. :)

Great job getting outside in all that snow! Hope you have a great week too!

Thanks for sharing your link with the OHC.

tlc said...

What a wonderful blog post! Very well written. I LOVE the view looking up. And I do hope your LO's make their own memories at Crandall Park. Also love the observation of the woodpecker holes!
TLC

dorinalouise said...

that is a wonderful photo looking up to the topmost branches of the trees! and i love the photo of the woodpecker holes. it's so nice to observe such old trees. great observations : )