By Martha Blume
Play this game with a friend in the woods or in a backyard with
at least 3 trees. All you need is a blindfold and a sense of adventure.
Start at a spot about equal distance from a number of trees. Blindfold your friend and lead her to a tree. Help her touch the tree and make these suggestions:
Feel the bark. Is it smooth or rough? Does it have bumps, ridges or crevices?
Can you reach all the way around the tree?
Can you feel any branches? How fat are they? Can you wrap your fingers around them?
Do the branches come straight out or point upwards?
Can you feel the tips of any branches? Are there buds? Are they rounded or sharp on the tips?
Bend down and see if you can feel any roots.
Can you find any leaves on the ground or on the branches? What shape do they seem to be?
Can you feel any moss growing on or around the bottom of your tree?
How does your tree smell?
When your friend feels he knows the tree, lead him back to the starting spot and remove the blindfold.
Can he figure out which tree he "met"?
Meet a Tree
by Martha Blume
Nothing to go by?
Most of us know deciduous trees by their leaves, which fall every autumn, and by their fruits. We recognize maple trees by their pointy lobed leaves and by their helicopter-like seeds. Oak trees have acorns. But how do you identify trees in the winter, when leaves, seeds and fruits are gone and you have nothing to go by?
See if You Can Find These Trees
Actually there's a lot of information, like the shape of the tree, the bark, and the buds. If you practice, you can become an expert at identifying trees by these clues alone.
Red Maple: Look for a short trunk and an oval crown; twigs and buds are red; young bark is silver, older bark is darker.
White Oak: A short trunk and broad crown; buds are reddish brown, small and rounded; bark is whitish.
Pin Oak: This is an easy one! The crown looks like a porcupine with branches coming out at all angles. Upper branches point up, lower branches down and many short, pin-like branches stick out all over. The buds are sharp.
Dogwood: These are small trees with a characteristic bark - it is deeply checkered like alligator skin. Flower buds are on stalks.
Sycamore: A large tree with bark that peels off like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to show green or whitish layers underneath; buds are covered by a scale.
Word of the Week
A cone-bearing tree such as a pine or a fir.
Sat & Sun. Feb.17-18 (2pm)-Have lots of fun and surprises with Thomas the Tank Engine. Make an engineers hat and your own set of train wheels. Ages 3-5. Zany Brainy, Annapolis Harbour: Center. 410/266-1447.
Sat. Feb 17 (10:30am)-A fairy tale comes to life for kids of all ages as the Annapolis Opera performs Beauty and the Beast. Come enjoy this exciting musical show. Maryland Hall, Annapolis. $5; rsvp: 410/267-8135.
River Otters Have Their Day
Sat. Feb. 17(10am-5pm)-How soft is an otters fur? Come find out. See where river otters sleep and watch them play. Have fun while learning all about these adorable creatures. Make some crafts to take home. All Ages. Calvert Marine Museum: Solomons. 410/326-2042
Tues. Feb. 20 (10:30-noon)-Its time for bluebirds to start building their nests. Hike the bluebird trail and be the first to spot these pretty birds. Crafts, story and treats, too. Ages 3-5. Kings Landing Park, Huntingtown. rsvp: 410/535-5327.
Calvertons Night Mother
Sat. Feb. 24 (7:30pm)-See an emotional drama that looks at social issues and family relationships. Night Mother has Calvertons talented actors at their best. Mature audiences. Calverton School, Huntingtown. $10; rsvp: 410/535-0216.