I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nature Journal - Camphor Tree

On our Friday nature walk, we went looking at trees.  The Camphor tree that grows near our back door is a favorite with the kids because of its low branches; it's the perfect climbing tree.  It also caught our eyes because it has a few red leaves, a reminder of fall colors in other parts of the country.  We decided to focus on it and learn more about it.

Michelle was interested in its branches because she has been learning how to draw texture in art class, and drawing tree branches was part of her assignment.  I love it when we can bring several subjects together.  Her drawing of the Camphor tree would do double duty - I color copied it, so she could use it for her nature journal and her art assigment.

We discovered that the Camphor tree is an evergreen, native of South-East Asia - China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. 

This motivated Michelle to go to the globe and locate those countries.  One of the beauties of the Charlotte Mason method is that kids are eager to learn and discover things on their own, it instils the love of learning in them; and that is one of our goals in education.

We also found that camphor oil comes from the Camphor tree, and it has medicinal uses.  The girls got to smell the crushed leaves where the oil is extracted from.  The wood from Camphor trees is supposed to be nice for building furniture.

 One of the things we like about this tree is that the leaves, when they come out and they're new, have a nice redish tone to them.

Emily's drawings and labels of the Camphor Tree
 I read in Floridata that Camphor trees are an invasive species in the South East United States, so I used the opportunity to talk to the girls about the problems we have here in Florida because of plants and animals that are brought from tropical areas in other countries, like the Burmese Python that has invaded the Everglades, and how important it is to not allow exotic animals or plants to be brought and released into the wild where they can disrupt native species. 

I am not sure how our Camphor tree ended up in our back yard except that our home's previous owners loved trees and planted a variety of them everywhere.  They were from out of state and missed the trees they were used to seeing in their home state.  They actually travelled there and brought trees home to plant.  As a result, we have lots of nice trees, and most of them are great additions.  The birds love nesting in them, and we enjoy watching and listening to them.

 We will have to decide whether we can keep the tree.  If we do need to cut it down, maybe we will keep some of the wood and have something made out of it...

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  1. A wonderful post. That would be a hard decision about the tree.

  2. What a sweet post, adorable girls, love the art book :)

  3. Thank you both! I think we've decided to leave the tree, since we mow around it, so the suckers it puts out are not being allowed to grow into more trees.


  4. A beautiful mosaic and a wonderful lesson, too! :)


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