Planting Trees with Kids: Cultivating Green Hearts and Growing Minds

My son planted an apple pip with his grandparents when he was a little boy. When it was strong enough, together they moved it to its final growing position outside of his bedroom window. Time has flown - he is approaching 30 years old and the tree is now taller than him. His tree bears fruit every year and is an anchoring reminder of his childhood and his magical relationship with his grandparents. 

Trees are like people. They come in all shapes and sizes. They have different leaves,
different bark and different flowers. Certain birds and animal prefer certain trees. Jays like Oaks with their Acorns, Eagles like big tall pine trees. There are trees which only grow high up mountains, and others like Alders which like to “keep their feet wet” and grow next to streams.

For a child trees are infinitely variable and infinitely useful. They are strong and can be climbed & explored, they can be valuable shade on a hot summer’s day, and they can be the frame for a magical den or treehouse. Life is about birth and growth. There is no better way to give your child the basics of botany from an early age, by together planting tree seeds and watching the seeds turn into seedlings, then saplings, then trees.

When children plant trees they are investing in their future - the tree will put down roots as they do and will grow and mature as they do. Understanding that everything is not immediate is also a great life lesson. Planting and then watching a tree grow alongside yourself as a child, seeing it get stronger - like you, taller - like you, flourish - like you, is a wonderful experience. The reward of planting a tree seed is not instant, it takes time & requires patience. But the true reward, as with any new life, is witnessing a miracle. 

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Chinese Proverb