Hi. Happy 2013 to one and all.
It’s late, I know. But just as I believe in spreading birthday celebrations out over the course of a week, I don’t mind wishing anyone a happy anything a little beyond the usual deadline. We all need to celebrate the good things more, longer, better, don’t we?
YES! And we have been celebrating the snowy woods here since ringing in the new year. Our lovely Berkshire Outdoor Center Winter 2013 Staff have been in training – learning to identify trees without the helpful hints provided by their leaves (!) learning to help squirmy kids buckle on snow shoes and learning how to teach a cross country ski lessons credibly even after having personally demonstrated a level IV wipe-out.
These are some serious skills, folks.
Since we know that Becket usually has a metric ton more snow than everywhere else in the world, we thought we’d share our outdoor adventures with those of you who are now down to a dingy inch of city or suburban snow. We’re not bragging. We’re celebrating – both our lovely campus and our acquisition of new teaching skills!
Stephanie, Jess, Sarah, Andrew, Erin, Dom and Stevo doing Tree ID, winter tracking and mobile teambuilding!
Kelsey demonstrates the principle of “credibility after a fall” and teaches us about the Grey Birch, which is a pioneer species that grows quickly in newly-opened areas and has marks that look like black mustaches where the branches meet the trunk!
Molly teaches the gang about “her tree,” the Eastern Hemlock which grows in groves, has needles high in vitamin C and bears seeds in its tiny cones. Did you know you can brew tea from its needles?
Jake says “this is a big ash tree!” and explains that baseball bats and hockey sticks are traditionally made from White Ash. It’s also the first tree to lose it’s leaves in the New England fall and the last to grow them in the spring. Lazy? Maybe. Smart? Certainly.
Sarah tells us about the Black Cherry Tree, which is valued for its beautiful timber and is often used in the creation of musical instruments and furniture but is threatened in the Northeast by the Peach Bark Beetle.
Over the river and through the woods, literally.
Andrew tells us about the Balsam Fir, New England’s only native fir tree. Moose and red squirrels eat it and its oil can be used as a non-toxic rodent deterrent. Handy!
Jess’s tree is the Striped Maple, also called Moose Maple, Duck-foot Maple or toilet paper tree for its large, distinctively shaped, soft leaves! When young, the striped maple has gorgeous bright green and white striped bark.
Stephanie tells us about the Eastern White Pine, New England’s tallest and longest living trees. The British Navy used them for masts on their ships and Maine names them as their state tree.
Trekking back to camp through Senior Unit, we were all excited for Mik’s lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup…just like Mom used to make!
We hope you enjoyed your virtual nature walk – come see us sometime, we’ll show you the real deal!
When you can touch the black cherry’s bark (feels like burnt potato chips,) smell the needles (Christmas!) hear the sap cracking in the trees (yes, you’re safe,) and taste the birch beer flavor (if that’s your thing, then yum!) the woods truly become a place to celebrate.
We are grateful that our celebration is just beginning!