Environmental Education Calendar

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quest Educational Adventure


This narrative forms the basis of an educational adventure in Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.  More photographs are needed, as well as the development of video clips, and additional text.

Armstrong Redwoods Quest   (Revised 9/22/2012)
Guerneville, California                                                                                                                                           Time: One Hour              Difficulty:  Easy               Trails:  Flat & Wide              Need: Pencil
(Add park rules re: trails, dogs etc.  & cautions re: cars on roads, poison oak)

1 GPS: N 38 31.936, W 123.00.157

Welcome to Armstrong Redwood’s first quest
We hope that you’ll think it’s the best!
Begin right here at this ecology display
If you check out both sides you’ll be doing okay

Tree rings tell the age of a tree.  Fast growth creates wide, light colored rings.  Slower growth makes narrow, dark rings. A combination of light and dark rings shows one year’s growth, which is added just under the bark.          

If this tree were cut yesterday, find the ring formed in the year of your birth.  How much did this tree grow in diameter and radius in your lifetime?                                                                                         Diameter (distance across a circle) ___ Radius (Half the diameter) ___
Look at the other side of the sign, choose two plants and two animals (one, a ground animal and one which lives in trees) to look for on your quest.  Write their names and sketch each one:   (4 boxes)     __________           __________           __________          __________  

(Illustrations: border design of forest plants and animals as found on display)               

2 GPS: 38 31.937, W123 00.173

Walk back to the park entrance gate
Find three redwood types and you’re doing just great
Three kinds of redwoods, all standing tall
Which one is found here, and is tallest of all?

(State to make signs for each tree to include name, location, maximum height, size, age)
Redwoods once covered much of the northern hemisphere. They include three types: Sequoia, dawn, and coast redwoods.  Armstrong Woods has coast redwoods. Because they get one third of their water from fog, coast redwoods only exist in a narrow range along the fog belt from Big Sur to Oregon.

Look at the needles of each tree.  Notice the difference.                                                                             Does the Dawn Redwood have needles now? Yes/ No  If so, are they green or brown now? (circle one)                                                                                                                                                           

The shape of Sequoia needles help the tree retain water because they are smaller and lie against the twig.  Look for similar ones on the ground.  Treetops of coast redwoods have this type of needles.

 (Illustration of Sequoia needles and of layers of the forest:  groundcover, understory and canopy) (Illustration: side border map of California with coast redwood range + show areas preserved)

Stroll past the kiosk to the Pioneer Trail
And go on with your quest, all without fail!
Look to the left, find the trail, there’s a sign
The forest’s so grand; it’s almost like a shrine.

3 GPS: N38 31.976, W123 00.229

Follow the trail to the sign near a seat
Smell the air; it is ever so sweet!
We hope you’re enjoying the display
And that you’re having a very great day

The opening provided by the creek also allows light into the forest. Plenty of water and sunlight allows taller trees to grow on the canyon floor. Even when the creek is dry, water flows underground.                                                                                                                                                              

Is there water in the creek today?  Yes   No      Be sure to record your answer in the logbook at the end of your quest.    Turn around.  See the Nursery Stump. Decomposing wood retains water and provides nutrients for new plants.  How many different kinds of plants do you see growing on the stump?___

GPS; N 38 31.988,W 123 00.255

As you continue your stroll with delight
Watch for a small sign off to the right
And learn about the Kashia Pomo band,
The first people to live on this great land

4 GPS; N 38 31.999, W 123 00.255

Now take a look to the left….see….over there!
It’s a tree stump with its roots up in the air.

Although coast redwoods can grow over 300 feet tall; their roots are shallow and spread in massive systems going out in all directions.  Intertwining roots help keep the trees upright and allow them to support each other. Staying on park trails protects tree roots from damage.                                                                                                                                                                  

If this tree were still standing, can you estimate how many other trees’ roots would be intertwined within 100 feet?  Hint: The road is about 100’ from this point.  ___Trees

GPS; N 38 31.33,W 123 00.265

On down the trail – look up to the left
See the tree caught in the cleft?
Scar tissue and burl have grown
Two trees holding up a third of their own.

GPS: N 38 31.36, W123 00.265

Now let’s move ahead to a smooth stump on its side
The bark’s gone away; it’s like losing its hide.
Feel the wood, note the grain, it’s ok to touch
But carving a date or a name, not so much!

Let’s take a few steps to a curve down the line
Look ‘cross the road for the Parson Jones sign
Take a moment to stop,
Look up and get a full view to the top.

5 GPS: N 38 31. 35,W 123 00.235

We’ll be crossing the road – watch out for cars.
Isn’t it grand that State Parks are all ours?
Behold!   Parson Jones
He’s pretty big, but not really alone.

Coast redwoods are among the fastest growing trees in the world. These giants gain most of their height at a young age and never stop growing.  Ancestors of these trees existed during the time of the dinosaurs.                                                                                                                                                                

The Parson Jones Tree is about 310 feet tall, longer than an American football field.  What does that look like?  Walk from the Parson Jones Tree sign up the road until you cross the bridge.  Take 43 steps past the end of the bridge.  Look for a slender redwood tree on the right, between the fence and the road, near leaning bay trees.  That redwood is about 310 feet from the Parson Jones sign! As you walk back to the Parson Jones Tree, look up to see its forked top.

6 GPS: N 38 31. 47,W 123 00.233
A giant cookie is not very far
Matched tree rings and history dates are the star!

GPS: N 38 31. 52,W 123 00.225

Then pass a “Stay on Trail” sign on the right
To the Regeneration sign in plain sight!

Redwoods seldom reproduce from seed.   Instead, fast-growing sprouts emerge at a tree’s base,  producing new trees that are genetically identical to the parent tree. Over time the parent tree may die off leaving a “Family Circle”. Stumps from cut or broken trees can also produce sprouts. These are a special feature of redwood forests.                                                                                                                      

As you walk, look at the forest floor. Notice the circles and semi-circles of trees and sprouts, and the craters where parent trees once stood.  

 7 GPS: N 38 31.144, W 123 00.258

Now let’s walk for a while, look up, down, and around,
You’ll see lots, with your eyes off the ground!
Look for a gap in the fence on the left
See a tree with a fire scar cleft

Knobs that stick out from a redwood trunk are called burls. Scar tissue that forms on a damaged trunk is also burl wood. Caused by fire or injury to the tree, burls keep growing as long as the tree lives.  Here’s a true story:  Years ago a little girl lived nearby and played in these woods. When she was ten she could stand just inside the opening in this tree trunk where the burl tissue comes down.  Now, many decades later, the opening is almost closed by the burl which grew over it.  As a grown-up, the little girl became a state park volunteer, right here in Armstrong Woods.  Do you think you’d like to be a state park volunteer one day?

GPS: N 38 31.168, W 123 00.284
Don’t cross the road yet
Take the bridge to the left – it’s a far better bet!
Go right and start the Discovery Trail
Notice instructions, all written in braille!
(No Teaching clue)

Activity: Hold the rope attached to the fence, close your eyes, and walk to the next station. Notice the sounds-or deep quiet- and smell of the forest. Feel the duff (decomposing leaves) underfoot.  Stop when the rope hits a post with a sign.


After reading the sign, let go of the line
And continue your walk, you are doing just fine
Keep walking along, tramp, tramp, tramp
‘Til you come to a tree with a ramp

In 1848 towering coast redwoods covered two million acres of California.  As more people settled in California, demand for lumber soared.  In Guerneville, one colossal redwood was 23 feet in diameter.  A man spent two years cutting it into shingles.                                                                                                           

A tree is measured by its height and diameter, which is taken at “breast height” or at 4.5 feet from the ground at the base of a tree on the uphill side. Look for the tape measure attached to a post near the tree. Use it to measure the circumference (the distance around it) of this tree at breast height.     Write the Circumference here: _____ feet around.                                                                                            

To find the approximate diameter, divide the circumference by 3: ____ 
(Illustration: Old logging photo)

9 GPS: N 38 31.209, W 123 00.427
GPS: N 38 31.206, W 123 00.429

Look for a log on the right that’s been sawn
It has rings to see and conclusions to draw
Look closely now, are the rings narrow or wide?
Are they the same width, from center to side?

Trees grow faster with plenty of water and sunlight and grow slower with less.  Sunlight often determines growth rate. When there is an opening in the forest canopy, allowing more sunlight, trees can grow rapidly. As the forest grows and closes in, the growth rate slows down.                                       

Examine the sawn end of the fallen log beside the trail. Start at the center. How much did it grow in radius each year when it was young? (Radius is the distance from the center to the edge/half the diameter) How did its growth rate change as it continued to grow?  Can you suggest a possible explanation?

10 GPS: N 38 31.227,W 123 00.434

Through the stately grove we continue along
To enter the presence of Colonel Armstrong

By 1900, only remnants of the ancient redwood forests remained. Colonel James Armstrong, his daughter, Lizzie Armstrong Jones, and the LeBaron family campaigned for 43 years to preserve and protect these woods.  In 1934 Armstrong Redwoods was acquired by the state, securing the trees’ survival. 

The Colonel Armstrong Tree, named “the Monarch of the Forest” by Lizzie Armstrong Jones, is the oldest living thing in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.                                                                 Write its age here:  __  __  __  __  years           You will need this number at the end of your quest.

11 GPS: N 38 31.245, W 123 00.460

Let’s walk on past the parking spaces,
Take a left at the end, then stroll a few paces.
At the arrow find two trees that got hot
What made the cave? Hint: It’s not rot!

Fire is a natural force that helps the forest to renew itself. Small ground fires don’t endanger mature trees but, big ones do. Small fires clear out brush, allowing more sunlight into the forest, helping trees to grow. The thick redwood bark which has little flammable pitch protects the tree from fire. Surface bark may char and heartwood may burn away, but the tree will often survive. Trees hollowed by fire, called “goosepens” provide a unique source of shelter for wildlife.                                                                         

Look inside the tree and estimate how high the tree was hollowed out. Guess why early settlers called them “goosepens”?

Straight ahead & quick to the right
The Forest Theater is a glorious sight
Towering spires, ancient forest galore
Nestled in this hollow since 1934

12 GPS: N 38 31.153,5 W 123 00.58

Past the potties, veer left off the main thoroughfare
Bound onto the stage your speech to prepare

Sound carries in a redwood forest. This opening amid the trees has excellent acoustics.  World famous musicians perform here, sometimes helping to raise funds for this park.                                                                                                                    

Stand at center stage and recite the following quote by naturalist John Muir…and listen.        “Everyone needs beauty as well as bread.  Places to play in and pray in. Where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

(Illustration: Photo of inaugural performance at Forest Theater 1936) 

End of the Quest…..

Your redwood quest’s nearly complete
Look to the back, past the long row of seats,
Spy a redwood tree to the left at the rear
Investigate….There’s a Treasure Box here)

Locate the “log” receptacle attached to a post behind/beside the large redwood. Use the age of the Colonel Armstrong Tree to open the lock. Pull out the Treasure Box and follow  instructions.

Place your Armstrong Redwoods Quest stamp here: (box)
Stamp could be a coast redwood with text: Armstrong Redwoods Quest

(Illustration:  Coast redwood/ giant Sequoia, California State Tree)

Note other routes within the park, how to return to the Visitor Center parking lot.                                  Include information about Stewards, 

No comments:

Post a Comment