Loreena Thiessen: Lessons from a Tree

Credit: IStock

by Loreena Thiessen

Your summer vacation is over. Each morning you were up early and ready to go. It’s back to school and that means work, school work.

The sun still feels warm on your face and summer’s leafy trees still provide shade. But not for long. As temperatures cool a change happens.

For trees to provide shade they must grow a good canopy, a cover of leaves, and to grow leaves must have food. Trees need four things to produce food for their leaves. These are sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and chlorophyll.

Rain provides the water that soaks into the ground and is absorbed by the tree’s roots and then travels up the trunk to the branches and leaves. Carbon dioxide is the breath you breathe out which is absorbed by the leaves. These ingredients, carbon dioxide, moisture from the ground, and sunlight create sugar, which is food for the leaves.

This process is called photosynthesis. The green colour of leaves comes from a natural substance within the leaves called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps trees use sunlight to produce the food they need.

In fall temperatures cool down and daylight hours grow shorter; in midwinter the sun sets around 4 p.m. Less sunlight and cooler temperatures are signals for the leaves to stop making food.

The chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down and the green color disappears. Leaves turn yellow, orange, brown and red. The tree lets them go and they fall to the ground. It is time for trees to begin their long winter rest.

Fall is a time for change. You begin your new school year and trees begin their winter break.

There are many things we can learn from trees. Scientists find that having trees around us is soothing and helps us relax. They clean the air you breathe by absorbing, or taking in poisonous gases and metals that are found in smoke from factories and car exhaust. In return they give out oxygen, the air you need to breathe.

Trees are a natural air conditioner. Their shade keeps you and your house cool. In a city enough trees can lower summer temperatures by 7 degrees while you enjoy playing outdoors.

Trees provide homes for birds and small animals. They provide food like tree fruits and nuts for people and for animals. A row of trees will reduce noise levels from traffic going by your house or school. They will stop the wind too. And their different shapes and colours make the countryside beautiful.

loreena-thiessen

Loreena Thiessen

One of the first things God did was grow trees. He says he made them for their beauty and for food, except for one, which Adam and Eve could not eat from (Genesis 2:8-9). But they did not listen, and were sent out of the Garden. This brought hardship and sadness to their lives.

In Psalm 1:1-3, God says that anyone who knows and listens to the laws of God is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. He will prosper and have good success.

Activity: Gratitude Stones

 Need: clean stones with a smooth surface, tissue paper, scissors, glossy Mod Podge, paintbrushes.

Do: 1. Cut out small tissue paper hearts. Place one on the smooth surface of a stone. 2. Use paintbrush to lightly spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over tissue paper heart and over the surface of the stone. 3. Allow to dry undisturbed. 4. Flip stone over and spread Mod Podge over this side. 5. Allow to dry undisturbed. This makes a seamless smooth stone that feels natural. 5. At dinner pass the stone around. While holding the stone share something for which you feel thankful.

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