Whilst you’re out and about during our autumn days find a small copse of trees or a woodland glade, as a base, for this fun little challenge.
The idea is that, whilst blindfolded, you are guided by a companion, to walk through a cluster of trees until your guide stops you, positioned close-up to a tree of their choice. Here the guide can step aside whilst you are left, safely, to ‘explore’ the tree, its trunk, branches, roots and leaves without the use of your eyes.
Take your time. Which of your other senses can you use appropriately to help you ‘get to know’ your tree? Smell and touch are both obviously very important. Listen too. In springtime it is even possible to hear tree sap rising deep within the trunk. Feel the texture of the bark, the shape of the trunk and any limbs high up or low down. If you can reach a leaf trace its shape with your fingertips. Smell the trunk and listen very carefully to any sounds. Perhaps sounds under your feet on a crisp autumn day will help you to know your tree. Notice what the sounds are from above in the tree canopy. Perhaps it has its own distinct leaf rattle like the aspen tree does.
Once you’re sure you have explored and ‘made friends’ with your tree then the guide can lead you well away and after removing your blindfold the challenge is to then find your tree, picking it out from the others in the copse. Have fun!
Helen Howes November 2019
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This article has been written by our lovely friend Helen, a Sustainability Consultant and Forest School Practitioner with over 30 years experience working with learners from preschooler to adult.
Helen is in her element making woodland cocktails and mud pies with both young and old, is an inspirational Forest School Leader and Outdoor Educator, and has received much positive feedback for the quality of the learning she initiates.
She will be sharing more of her favourite outdoor activities in this month-by-month blog titled “From the Forest”.