Before making the necklaces, we took a closer look at the Silver Birch Tree. The children were fascinated by the look and feel of it’s amazing bark. In young trees the bark is reddish-brown, but this changes to white as they mature. The white bark is most prominent on silver birch, where it is interspersed with conspicuous black patches.

birch-tree-2

We discussed the importance of trees and why they are vital for our existence.

Birches support a large community of insects and other invertebrates, with 334 species known to feed on them-now that’s pretty impressive!

tree

birch-tree

To make a Tree Disc Necklace you will need to hunt for a fallen branch. Autumn is a wonderful time to go hunting.

leaves-273

Saw your branch into thin slices. (Details on how to make a disc necklace and other nature art activities related to trees are available in chapter 11  – TREES from the NATURE ART PROGRAM)

saw

Samuel drilled a hole in every disk.

Sam-drilling

discs

Time to get creative.

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One of the students decided to make her necklace match her outfit

Anna

A wonderful activity for all ages…

necklaces

butterfly Girl necklaces

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necklace-pic

Native Americans used the bark of the birch to make: canoes, rattles, torches, moose calls and many types of containers. Lightweight and flexible, the bark could be cut and bent to make containers of any desired shape. Trays, dishes, storage boxes, buckets and cooking pots were made of birch bark. The edges of the container were sewn together with plant fibers. If the edges were sealed with pine pitch or spruce resin, the container could be used to carry water or hung over a fire to cook a soup or stew. Birch bark cutouts or stencils often were used to decorate containers, and also provided patterns for Native American beadwork. The white outer bark layer made a good substitute for the paper that it resembles, and drawings could be made on it with a piece of charcoal. Birch bark burns easily. It was shredded and used for tinder to start campfires, folded and stuck in the cleft of a long pole to illuminate the water depths for night spear fishing, and rolled into cylinders used as long-burning torches to light a path through the woods.

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