Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Identifying Trees

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California Trees & Wildflowers
I admit that I am very clueless when it comes to answering Anna’s “What is the name of XYZ” questions when we go hiking. I noticed that she is asking it less often, because she got used to my “I have no idea” answer. So I made a present for all of us and got this California Trees & Wildflowers pocket guide. It’s very simple and doesn’t contain a lot of information, but it’s also very small and light and either to carry on a hike. I couldn’t wait to test it out on our Saturday hike.
Apr22_Trees
Together we managed to identify three trees in our favorite hiking place – Pacific Madrone (my husband used to think that the trees must be sick, but we learned that peeling bark is normal for them), Interior Live Oak and California Laurel. We had a lot less luck with identifying conifers – I “think” they were young redwoods, but I am not entirely sure. Anna had a lot of fun with this tree identification activity and said that we should bring a magnifying glass and a sample collection kit to the next hike to do real science. I am looking forward taking this guide around our neighborhood and identify more trees. 
Question: What field guides do you use? I am also very tempted with this app for my iPod, especially since they have an Earth Day special right now…

10 comments:

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I usually use the online guides - but tree identification is hard. It will be nice when technology gets to the point of being able to take a picture of the tree, or bird, or rock, or whatever and get back instant identification.

MaryAnne said...

We haven't bought any guides, but Emma would love a tree guide, and a bird guide. I need to look into those for her.

Pathfinder Mom said...

We use leafsnap and really like it: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/leafsnap/id430649829?mt=8

Phyllis said...

She looks so cute in that pink hat. Spring is a lovely time for tree identification.

Debbie said...

I love this idea. I bet she had so much fun identifying the trees.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

JDaniel would love walking around with a guide. I wonder if my library has any!

Kim said...

We did this recently - Hawaiian plants are SO cool. It is nice to finally know the names of some of them.

Ticia said...

We got one when we were down on the coast for Texas sea shells that is similar to the one you have.

I've looked at some of the apps that are out, but the ones I was most interested in were $20, and more than I was willing to spend for something I wouldn't use that much.

Viki and David said...

I have that Auduban tree app. We've used it to identify some trees. There aren't always enough pictures of the shape, bark, leaf shape/pattern for a complete novice to compare between two very similar trees. Often we look up the category of tree and learn general things about trees of that general kind, even if we can't quite tell whether it's a sugar vs bigleaf maple.

BTW, look for the region/state guide by Audubon. There is an Pacific Northwest nature guide. I bet there is one for California. You get trees, mammal, reptiles, birds, fish, butterflies, wildflowers, inspects, and fungi for your area -- all in one. The bird section is actually pretty good because it has a variety of different sounds not just song/call. Also used the wildflower section on hikes.

Kelly said...

Great idea to take a guide with you! We visit our local botanical garden for nature classes every now and then. They are great for answering these types of questions. Anna looks like she really enjoys your hikes.
Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

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