Tree Identification & Today’s Kids

We had the pleasure of chatting with a friend in his eighties who enjoys identifying trees. He was bemoaning the fact that the “kids of today” can’t identify trees. I talked about how I got some Webelos scouts (4th-5th grade boys) to recognize six trees (maple, oak, pine, hemlock, beech, birch). But the truth was I was the one who learned about the trees; as the boys weren’t terribly interested, I’m not sure how much information they retained.

Our eighty-plus friend told us about one of his trips to Jerusalem (his son lives there) and the discovery of an old Arab cemetery. What intrigued him the most was a large tree in the cemetery. His son found a local tree expert, who declared the tree to be a ‘canary pine‘. We learned that trees like specific environments, so only certain trees grow in any given place.

Can you identify trees? If not, would you care to learn? Would you like your kids (if you have) to learn? Or would you rather work on identifying sports cars or online computer games? Finally, what’s this:

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9 thoughts on “Tree Identification & Today’s Kids

  • You asked “Did you read Life of Pi? It’s partly about zoos.” No, but I will add it to my reading list. For as long as I can remember I always felt sorry for animals in a zoo or especially a circus making me a strange child.

    I think so many kids are so disconnected from nature. I just read a book by Sara Stein entitles “Noah’s Children: Restoring the Ecology of Childhood”. I agree with her and it gave me food for thought.

  • Believe it or not, I still remember my dad attempting to teach me to identify trees. (This was at least 16 years ago.) The lesson didn’t really “stick”, per se, but later on in my life I remembered him trying to teach me, and after he passed away I worked on learning them on my own. I have a book about tree identification ready for when I walk to work this fall, but for now I can identify some basics… maple, sycamore… pine… lol

    Perhaps the boys, like myself, will come back to your lessons later and decide to keep on learning?

  • i while back i bought my son a puzzle of the aleph bet. each piece had a letter and picture of an animal or flower that starts with that letter. great. i don’t even know how to recognize a flower in english.

    forget flowers. my wife once sent me to the supermaket for peaches and i came home with pears.

    “Or would you rather work on identifying sports cars or online computer games? ”

    i don’t plan on getting jr video games anytime soon, but definately cars. (he used to be really car crazy. not so much any more, but he loves driving my car, looking into the engine, etc.)

  • My grand-father was a pharmacist but also a biologist; in fact he spent more time teaching college Biology than running the pharmacy. So whenever he walked somewhere with his children (my mother included) he would tell them about trees and flowers.
    When we grew up my mother tried to teach us too but I must admit that I wasn’t very interested. Now I wish I had listened more and always welcome explanations when I walk or hike.
    I don’t know about American kids, but French kids are taught strange things in Biology and I honestly believe than teaching anyone to be able to identify what they see around them should be part of the curriculum.
    Concerning your tree, I’d also say date palm.

  • Michelle, yes, I think you’d like Life of Pi.
    Jana, that happened to me with gardening. I wasn’t interested as a child, but now that my mother is gone, I’m totally into it.
    LoZ, your son sounds like a cutie! Maybe we can get the two (or 3) of you into nature, too.
    Luiz, thanks for the recipe (it didn’t look kosher, sorry).
    Robin, you’re the Israeli, you tell me! (you’re probably right: I photographed it near the pool at Kfar Blum)
    Ilana-Davita, yes, we often don’t listen as well as kids but hopefully get more interested as adults.

  • A palm tree of sorts? Or a banana tree? I dunno but I like it! Please share (should check comments…). Now that I’m into gardening more I like learning about different flowers, plants, and trees. 🙂

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