As a service-learning project, members of the Knowing the Woods Club at William Woods University recently presented a “Getting to Know Trees” program for Fulton Preschool children.
Kelcie Spradley of Fenton, president, and club member Erica Begley of Hannibal presented the educational program for the youngsters. Club member Samantha Twellmann of Wright City helped with the development of information for the presentation.
This service-learning project was the first for the fairly new Knowing the Woods Club, and Spradley said group members are looking forward to planning and participating in future events.
The preschoolers learned fun facts about trees from all over the world and locally. They also learned about numerous products and items that are made from trees and that every part of the tree is used for something – nothing is wasted. Additionally, the children learned about what happens to trees during the winter season.
Spradley and Begley presented several interesting facts about trees, including:
· Trees are the longest living organisms on earth
· Two mature trees make enough oxygen to support a family of four
· The tallest tree in the country is a Coast Redwood growing in northern California’s Redwood
National Park. It is 369 feet tall and more than 2,000 years old!
· The world’s oldest trees are 4,600-year-old Bristlecone pines in the USA.
· It can take up to 15 years to grow an average-sized Christmas tree
Their presentation included a huge list on poster board of things made from trees. Points relevant to the age group of the children included:
- Trees make movies
- Trees make crayons
- Trees make chewing gum
Copies of pages from the Arborist coloring book were given to the children after the presentation.
The project was a learning experience, not only for the preschoolers, but for the members of the Knowing the Woods Club, who learned that trying to get children at such a young age to understand why trees are so important to the environment and communities was a difficult task.
Spradley reports, “These children were very interested in everything we talked about but really enjoyed telling personal stories. We learned how to take their stories and turn them into a way to help educate the child and their parents on why we need to have healthy trees during every season.”
With Christmas so close to these presentations, the children wanted to know why trees change during the winter, why some trees don’t lose their leaves, and why “Christmas trees” stay green. The children also were interested in how a tree is used in every way, from being used to make wood to everyday items they use themselves.
For Spradley, the project complimented her academic work at WWU by helping her with her presentation abilities. While her major is equine administration, being able to present to all age groups is a valued skill.
Begley is an education major, so presenting to the preschool children tied-in directly with her studies. This experience gave her invaluable practice and experience working with young students.
According to Sue Beaty, Fulton Preschool director, the children really enjoyed the presentation.
“The children enjoyed visiting with the college students,” she said. “They became more aware of what a gift trees are to us; that they provide more than shade and leaves to jump in during the fall.”
Catherine Aaron (left), 4; Ethan Milius, 4, and Chloe Schwinke, 3, take a look at a poster of various trees.