In Mrs. Ripa’s Science class we learned about the different types of trees and how to identify them. It’s important for us to know about our trees so that we know more about our environment. If we are building, we know more about our natural resources that surround us, and if we are lost, some trees could even help us.
We explored the forest behind our school, Messalonskee Middle School, and took pictures of the different trees we encountered. We were all assigned a certain tree to look for and were given some details about their characteristics. The tree I was assigned to was a Yellow Birch tree. I learned how to identify Yellow Birch, how they are native to Maine, and to look for leaves that are oval and toothed. I also learned that their bark peels horizontally and that although it is grey tree, under the bark it is a golden brown, bronze.
We also had our district forester volunteer to teach us about diagnostic characters that help to identify common trees found in Maine forests. He was very knowledgeable! After identifying the trees and learning about them we got to take some pictures and make our own identifying cards for each of the trees. We first used the cameras we already had that were old and died easily, but we still managed to get some photos. Now, thanks to the Natural Resource Council of Maine Engaging Maine Middle School Students in the Nature of Maine grant program, we have a new camera that we can use!
I am very thankful we were able to get a new camera because we now get to go back out to our trees and take new and better pictures for our Tree Identifying Cards. I am also thankful for Mrs. Ripa who always makes learning engaging and fun for us. Finally, we are going to pick the best cards made by our team and compile them into a digitally printed guide. This guide will be of our school forest and will be shared with our entire community!
—by Samantha Amison, 8th grader