Monday, March 16, 2015


It’s been five years since my first picture book, This Tree Counts!, was published and I still hike past the old tree that inspired my story several times a week at my local nature center. I first wrote a short poem imagining what that tree would say if it could speak. As I share in my school visits, we know that bees communicate in their hives, and it’s possible that trees communicate, too, in ways that we, as humans, don’t yet understand.

Hiking through a forest, under a leafy canopy hearing birds overhead, is my quiet place, where I can breathe in fresh air and enjoy the incredible beauty of being alive in this world.

Write about your special place…

What place in nature makes you feel special? Is it next to a tree or on a beach at the ocean?

Take a class hike around your schoolyard. Take notes about what you see.
Write what seems special about the playground, the parking area, and the school building.
Now focus on all that is natural surrounding your school.
Is there a tree that is shorter or taller than the others?
Is there a quiet spot to sit outside your school?
Are there any rocks, streams, or ponds on your school property?
Do you see any animals or birds around your school?
What do you like the least and the most about the grounds surrounding your school?

Choose what means the most to you from your notes and write a short poem.
I imagined a tree speaking to me for This Tree Counts! What do you hear in your imagination about your school grounds? What counts most to you about what you see each day at school? Photographs and drawings are a nice addition to your words.

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