When I was a little girl, I had a huge Holly tree in my backyard, or at least I thought it was huge at the time. I spent a lot of my time either climbing the Holly tree, or playing with my toys in it’s shade. Since a very young age, I have had a great appreciation for nature, and I think it started with that Holly tree. When my sisters were inside playing with their toys, I would always be outside with my dad either climbing the tree or playing on our swing set. My mom hated that I was always dirty, but I think she also loved it. When I was 7 we moved away from that house, and away from my Holly tree. I was very sad because I loved my backyard and I loved my tree. But at my new house, I found a new tree.
My new house had an even bigger backyard, and it had almost a dozen trees. One of the first things my dad did was build a swing for of the trees. I loved that swing and I spent a lot of time on it with my friends. My dad also put a hammock in between two trees in the backyard that my mom loved to read her books on. We also have a huge wooden deck at my house that we spend a great deal of time on. It can get very hot in the summer, so it is nice that all of the trees in my backyard create a lot of shade. If it weren’t for the trees in both of my backyards, I may not have enjoyed playing outside nearly as much. And to this day I still spend a lot of time on my deck in the spring and summer, just enjoying the shade and the weather.
I bet that a lot of people my age or older have childhood memories that involve trees and playing outside. A lot of my time as a child was spent outside, and it is sad to see that fewer and fewer children play outside. I even remember building a bat house with my dad one summer. It was a wooden box with a metal mesh on the inside for bats to hang from while they sleep. I had learned about bats in school and was fascinated with them, and shocked when my dad showed me how they fly around in the evening. Another childhood memory I have that involves nature is chasing the lizards that live in the stonewall in my front yard. My dad showed me the speedy blue and red lizards that lived in the wall and came out during the day to warm in the son. I immediately resolved myself to catching one. I spent many days chasing them, only to cry for hours because I thought I killed one when I grabbed it because it’s tail popped off.
As a child, I did not know how important trees were to our environment. I did not think about trees in that manner because I did not understand what pollution was, and I did not know that trees were in danger. My childhood memories of trees were simply about exploring. Trees got me interested in other aspects of nature, and that interest has only grown in the past decade. I am very worried about children who spend no time outside. If they do not develop ties to nature at a young age, they may be less inclined to fight for the environment because they may think they do not need it.
My newest tree is on Morgan Field on Dickinson College’s campus. It is a beautiful Bur Oak, and I cannot wait to learn more about it. Because it is located right on Morgan field where people like to hang out, it will likely get a lot of visitors in the next month before it gets cold!