Our Remarkable Trees of Virginia Adventure

We’ve read that a white oak tree spends two hundred years growing, two hundred living, and two hundred dying.  Branch by branch, ours is dying.
(early Spring 2007)
Over the years I have recorded my children sitting in front of this mighty white oak tree many times.  While my children are young and constantly growing, our Big Ol’ Oak saw it’s youth hundreds of years ago, long before we were born.  So now, as we thrive, it declines.  It seems that each time we visit, another branch has fallen to the forest floor. Nevertheless, the Big Ol’ Oak it will always be; champion tree in our neck of the woods.
I’m not sure that I can remember even the year that marked the first time Seth and Keats came racing in the house shouting that they had discovered an enormous tree in the forest behind our house.  I know they begged me to hike to it with them, but I am not sure if I went that day, the following week, or even the next month.  I am not sure how much time passed before I sat the boys down for a picture with “their” tree.
(And if you have been reading here for more than a year you have seen our Big Ol’ Oak before!)
I know that soon after the discovery, Seth became obsessed with trees, especially large ones.  I was more than happy to feed his interest given that trees have always been one of my great loves.  We soon discovered the Remarkable Trees of Virginia website and Seth spent hours pouring over the listings of hundreds of trees nominated as remarkable.  He wanted to nominate our oak, but
I never managed to do so.  We talked about visiting the trees listed in our area, but those plans never materialized.
(Winter 2009)
It wasn’t until last winter that I realized that the Remarkable Trees of Virginia book had been published the previous year, and bought a copy. (I was way behind on that one-2008 was quite a year for us.)
The book became an instant favorite in our house, read cover to cover by Seth, and studied by me.  As I began making our homeschooling plans for this fall, I knew that I wanted this book to play a major role. Of all that I studied in college, trees were my passion and my focus, and I want to share that with my children.
(Summer 2010)
Inspired by Remarkable Trees of Virginia, and our love for trees, we are planning to spend the next year (or more) searching out the trees featured in the book.  This should prove to be a grand adventure as exact locations aren’t specified for all the trees.  We are all so excited to see more of this state we have grown to love over the past eight years, and the most remarkable trees that grow here.  There is such a wealth of information in Remarkable Trees of Virginia, that we will be getting history lessons as well as we learn about the history of each tree, carefully recorded in it’s pages.
In addition to sharing each of our trips here, I hope to share more about the literature based study of trees that I am designing to teach all of my children this year as their science and as an accompaniment to our remarkable tree visiting travels.  What really matters to me is that I am able to pass a bit of my love for the forest and it’s trees to my children, just as my dad passed his own love for trees to me, by example.
There will be no quizzes and no tests, just a mama in her element, hoping to light a little spark in her children.

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