A Girl and Her Tree

 Heather Fox, Education Specialist, 
Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and Nature Explore


I remember it vividly, being in the wooded area near my home as a young child. I would jump just high enough to wrap my arms around a low hanging branch and swing to a perch where I could see everything a bit clearer. My legs would swing in careless abundance. I could sit, stand, recline or even walk along a particularly welcoming branch. The way the bark felt on my bare arms and feet was so familiar and comforting. This was my tree.

My friends at Arbor Day Foundation tell me that most everyone can share a touching story about their favorite tree.  Trees make it easy for us to connect with nature.  They are colorful, strong, diverse and can be found in nearly every neighborhood.  Trees are long lasting.

Just the other night, I found myself exploring this same wooded area with a younger tree enthusiast. We stopped to marvel at a beautiful collection of stacked logs and immediately started counting the rings and wondering about all kinds of things.  I began to describe some of my adventures in this “forest” and turned around to notice that this freshly cut and kindly organized tree was in fact, my tree.  After a sigh and a deep breath. I thought about the ways children see and feel natural beauty.  This feeling is long lasting.

For many of us this is why we do what we do. We know that children have the great capacity to feel and learn with nature.  From the time I was a child to the time I’m writing this blog that one tree, my tree, taught me so much. I’d like to know about your favorite moments in nature. What inspires you?