Creating Spiritual Connections

for Young People

& the young at heart
 

Wonders Of God
Trees

 

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Wonders Of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson Plan  
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SCRIPTURE:     “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:

  Psalm 27:4          that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

                              all the days of my life,

                              to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

                              and to seek God in God’s temple.”              NRSV

 

  Isaiah 55:12        "For you shall go out in joy,
                               and be lead back in peace;
                               the mountains and the hills before
                               you shall burst into song,
                               and all the trees of the field shall
                               clap heir hands."                                           NRSV

 

PREPARATION: Find a ‘slice’ of a log or tree to show the tree rings.

                               Have prepared Prayer Flags ready to design.

                               Book available:  Old Elm Speaks – Tree Poems

               Supplies: fabric markers, paints and stamps

                                twine, scissors, parchment paper

 

SING:   The Wonders of God are all around

              Just open your eyes and see.

                                                For music score click here

 

QUESTIONS:  How many like to go to the beach?

                          How many like to go to the mountains?   

 

EXPLANATION:  Human beings are pulled to and have a deep relationship with nature that is part of our subconscious.  We don’t know why.  We just do.  Nature includes those things of the physical world such as plants and animals, the earth, the mountains, the beach,  the sun and moon and stars .  For our Wonder of God today I chose the beauty and importance of forests with their many, many trees .

 

There are two kinds of forests.  One with trees above the ground.  The other is greenery in the water called blue-green algae. 

 

QUESTION: Put your hands where your lungs would be.  What do the lungs do for you?    They clean the air for your body.

 

The trees of the forest are the lungs of the earth.  The trees clean the air!

 

QUESTION:  What happens to our creeks and rivers when companies pollute them with chemicals and people throw trash in them?

            Fish and other under water creatures die.

 

Did you know that willow trees along a creek bed clear the water of bad stuff that might kill fish and other underwater creatures?

 

QUESTION:  Why do you feel so good after a walk in a woods or forest? 

 

Walking through trees is a stress reduction activity. It helps people get rid of stress.

People who have spent time among trees have better body health.

 

QUESTION:  What tree is a very, very old tree?  It is called a “living fossil”.

 

The Ginko Biloba.  It goes far back in history to the Triassic Period.  Two hundred million years ago.    It saw the rise of dinosaurs and their decline.  It is so adaptable, tough and tolerant of pollution .  Leaves are fan shaped.  Some with lobes.

There are male and female trees.  They have stink bomb fruit.  The fruit smell!

 

QUESTION:  Have you ever been stuck by a pin?  What do you do?

 

Did you know that trees whimper when things are nailed into them?  They do!

 

INTRODUCING THE POEMS:  I found a very simple poetry book that has poems about trees.  It is titled, Old Elm Speaks,  by Kristine O’Connell George.  The pictures were drawn by Kate Kiesler. 

 

I chose three poems to read to you.  (These cannot be printed here because I do not have permission to do so.  They are copyrighted.)

            ”Oak’s Introduction”   -  An old oak tree talks to a young boy 

                                                      who has paused to look up at the tree.

            “Old Elm Speaks” – Old Elm speaks to a young tree about how

                                               long it will take before it can touch the

                                               moon.

            “Tree Traffic” – My favorite!  The announcer on the TV tells

                                         about the traffic on the trees today.

                                         No cars. . . . . . . . . . . just squirrels.

 

QUESTION:  How old are you?  How do you show how you are growing? 

           

Trees show they are growing another way.  It is called Dendrochronology. 

They show they are growing by ‘growth rings’ or ‘tree rings’.  These are annual rings that grow right next to the bark.

 

Usually one ring marks the passage of one year of life. 

            Adequate moisture and long growing = a wide ring.

            Drought = a very narrow ring.

 

TIME FOR A BREAK:  Take a walk among the trees or in the ‘out of doors’, or do as  “…Dr. Takimoto told us in his quiet voice about a Japanese custom called shin-rin-yoku, which translates literally to “tree shower”.   When a person feels anxious or tense, he simply goes outside, walks up to a tree, raises his arms above his head, and receives that which the tree provides – a sense of calm, serenity, and well-being.”

          (from Earth and Sky – Our Intimate Connections to Trees,
                                 by Nalini M. Nadkarni, pages 129-130.)

 

ACTIVITIES:

            Plant a tree – either to take home or on the property where you

            are.

 

            Depending on the time of the year, plant seeds.

 

            Prayer Flags:  Prayer flags do not carry prayers to gods.
            They are used to promote peace, compassion, strength
             and wisdom. Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras
             will be blown by the wind to spread goodwill and
             compassion everywhere.  They are thought to bring
             benefit to all.

 

            The order of the colors:

                  blue,                white,              red,          green,           yellow

                 sky and space          air and wind              fire                  water                   earth

 

            It is believed that health and harmony are produced through the

            balance of the five elements.

 

            Preparation:  9” x 12” cotton cloth in colors above, hemmed
            on two
 long sides. The hem is one small fold under, not two.
            The casing at the top needs to be wide enough to allow the
             heavy string or twine
to pass through.  Again, only one fold,
             not two.  There is no hem at
 the bottom.  The prayer flag will
             disintegrate over time.  That is the
 idea.

 

            Using fabric markers, stamps, or fabric paint make a design that

            shares the   goodness of trees, the beauty of trees, the beauty of

            nature, the grandeur, the impressiveness of trees and nature.

 

            Cover with parchment paper and iron to heat set the design.

 

            Thread the twine through the casing of each in the correct order

            by color.  Tie a knot between each one so there will be a space

             between each flag.  Tie from tree to tree or post to post.

 

            Painting: Trees are part of the divinity of God. They are divine. A

            tree is a wonder of God.  Painting a tree is a spiritual activity.  Let

            the child paint.

 

             Use easels, large painting clip boards, or tables.   Put shower
             liners or plastic material on the table or floor.  Provide paints
             in cups and brushes suitable to the ages of the student.
             (Large brushes for younger students.  Smaller brushes for
             older students.) Using a brush in each cup helps keep the
             paints clean.

 

            Provide paper: easel sized paper, 17” x 20”,  or white paper

            12” x 18”.

            Provide different types of brushes:  funny brushes, tooth brushes,

            regular brushes, corks turned on their side make good tree
            trunks.

            Provide paints.  Consider the age of the student to decide how the

            paint area is to be set up.  Easels and individual cups with paint

            brush in each for the younger student.  Older students may prefer

            individual paint sets or sharing cups with others. They might

            want their own cup of water. 

 

            Before starting:  Have student put on paint shirt and put name on

             paper.

 

            Review what we have shared together today. 

            Paint that which comes from within, from the divine  –  a
            composite
of what they have learned, how they feel about
            trees, and/or how
they see the beauty of trees.  

 

CLOSING:  Have time for sharing each person’s art.  Because the masterpieces may be wet, call attention to each one around the room.  And don’t forget the younger ones.  Encourage the older students to support the work of the younger ones. 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Adult

Beresford-Kroeger, Diana.  Arboretum Borealis – A Lifeline of the
        planet. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press, 2010.

Beresford-Kroeger, Diana.  The Global Forest , 40 Ways Trees Can
       Save Us.
      London:Penguin Books, 2010.

Friend, Mari.  Nature’s Secrets. London: Brockhampton Press Ltd, 1998.

George, Kristine O’Connell.  Old Elm Speaks – Tree Poems.
      
New York: Clarion Books,             1998

Kaza, Stephanie. The Attentive Heart – Conversations with Trees.
 
     Boston:Shambhala,             1996

Mooney, Chris, “New Research Suggests Nature Walks Are Good
    For Your Brain”. 
      Washington DC: The Washington Post, June 29, 2015

Mooney, Chris, “Scientists Have Discovered That Living Near Trees
   Is Good for Your Health”. 
      Washington DC: The Washington Post, July 9, 2015.

Nadkarni, Naline M.  Earth and Sky – Our Intimate Connections
       to
Trees.  Berkley: University of California Press, 2008.

Robbins, Jim.  The Man Who Planted Trees  - Lost Groves, Champion
       Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet.
      
New York:Spiegel & Grau, 2012.

 

Youth

Brandt, Keith.  Discovering Trees.  New Jersey: Troll Associates, 1982.

George, Kristine O’Connell.  Old Elm Speaks – Tree Poems.
  New York: Clarion Books, 1998.