By Jamieson Findlay
You may have heard that Britain’s National Trust, the charity that looks after historic buildings and natural spaces in the U.K., has come up with a “bucket list for kids”—50 things a child should do before the age of 11 ¾. These include climbing a tree (number 1), building a den (4), catching a fish with a net (8), making a mud pie (13), playing in the snow (15), setting up a snail race (17) and “checking out the crazy creatures in a rockpool” (37).
I bet that many readers of this blog, being nature lovers, have already done a lot of these things. Even Vancouverites must have played in the snow sometime, and as for watching snails race, I’m surely not the only self-employed writer with that hobby. So I got to thinking about creating a new checklist to complement this one—a bucket list for tree lovers. Here are my seven tree-related things to do before the age of 95½. Like the items on National Trust list, they don’t require travelling very far or spending a lot of money.
1. Find the fattest tree in your neighbourhood and measure its girth.
2. Find the oldest (or the oldest-looking) tree in your neighbourhood and write its autobiography.
3. Explore inside a hollow tree. (This one I borrowed from the National Trust list, but it’s too good to leave off.)
4. Plant a future forest.
5. Learn about tree pests and how to keep them away.
6. Find a samara (the winged fruit of a maple tree) and let it fall from a bridge or hilltop.
7. Learn to identify the species of your fattest and oldest-looking trees (see above).
It just so happens that you will be able to do all these things on National Tree Day, coming up on September 25th (the Wednesday of National Forest Week). National Tree Day, inaugurated in 2011 through the efforts of Tree Canada, is a day to celebrate trees and tree-lore across the nation. A vast array of activities is planned—everything from tree-planting to tree-identification walks to the singing of songs to trees. And there will be prizes. Your school, for example, could win a grant of $1000 to green your school grounds: you just have to send in a picture and description about how you celebrated National Tree Day. And don’t worry if you have no activity ideas yet: by registering, you will receive an activity sheet.
So if your community group is planning an event for that day, or if you’re just looking for ideas, visit the website of National Tree Day. The day will be a chance to check off a treeful of items on your personal bucket list.
The National Trust’s “Bucket List for Kids”: