How to make a bark rubbing

Remove any packaging from your crayon. You will need the long edge (not the pointed tip usually used for writing).

How to make a bark rubbing

Step 2

Find a tree with interesting bark.

How to make a bark rubbing

Step 3

Hold the paper against the bark, and then rub the paper with the long edge of the crayon. You may need to press harder to capture the bark’s interesting features.

How to make a bark rubbing

Step 4

Write what type of tree it is. Repeat steps 2-3 with different trees to compare their bark texture.

How many different types of tree can you find in your garden or a park near your house?

How to make a bark rubbing

Did you know every single oak tree is like a mini nature reserve – these incredible trees can support up to 350 different species!

Have you taken time to notice all the beautiful trees and shrubs in New Hampshire? Do you know the state tree or the state flower? (See the example below for the answers!) What is your favorite tree or shrub? Take a walk outside and look at all the different trees in your yard or neighborhood or on a nature walk. Take a guide book with you or use a phone app or the internet to help you identify all the trees you see. Bark and leaf rubbings are a great way to keep track of all the trees and shrubs you observe.

What have you found? Share a photo of your bark or leaf rubbing in the NH 4-H Community Group on Facebook!


  • Plain white paper
  • Clipboard, hardcover book, or other hard surface
  • Crayons with the wrappers removed. If you have a lumber marking crayone, they work very well and last a long time.

How To Do It

  1. Place your paper flat against the bark of the tree in an area with no branches. Bigger trees are easier to get rubbings.
  2. Rub the side of the crayon against the paper until the pattern of the bark is visible on the paper. Make sure to keep the crayon flat against the paper.
  3. If you can, take a leaf (or needles, which are the leaves of evergreen trees) from the tree. (Make sure you have permission first!) Put the leaf against a hard, smooth surface (your clipboard), put the paper over it, and on a blank spot in the paper, rub over the leaf with the side of your crayon. You will see a leaf print appear. Try to do this on the same paper with your bark print, so you have the bark and leaf print of the same tree.
  4. Record the name of the tree or shrub on your paper.
  5. Start a notebook to keep track of your nature observations.


Here is an example of Paper Birch (our state tree) and Purple Lilac (our state flower) bark and leaf rubbings:

This week we have been focusing on trees when we’ve been out and about. We started by trying our hand at some bark rubbings.

How to make a bark rubbing

Tree bark varies wildly between species of trees, and taking a rubbing is a great way to focus on the different patterns and textures, as well as making a record of a particular tree’s bark. The process itself is super simple. We used waxed crayons and plain white paper, and used the side of the crayon to take our prints. We found working up and down the page worked best for us.

How to make a bark rubbing

Just like our skin, bark’s main purpose is to protect the tree. While the children made their rubbings, we talked about the properties of the bark, and how they might be beneficial to the tree. The kids concluded that the bark looked like Armour since it was so thick and rugged on many of the trees we looked at. They were also interested to see how many other plants used the bark for their own benefit – we found both Ivy and Lichens growing on the trees we examined.

How to make a bark rubbing

The kids decided that they wanted to start a tree scrapbook to record the trees we looked at. Now seems a great time of year to start one, as we were able to photograph each tree without its leaves – giving us a great picture of it’s overall shape. As we move through the seasons we’ll be able to add pictures of the different stages of the tree’s yearly cycle; we will come back and record their buds, flowers and different leaf colours. The kids really enjoyed identifying our trees using a reference book, and quickly picked up some of the terminology in tree identification.

How to make a bark rubbing

By carrying out this process of physically examining a tree close up, making a record of what they saw through the bark rubbings and photographs, and then by collating their information in their scrapbook, the kids have really have developed a greater knowledge and interest in trees this week. They can now identify 3 or 4 trees confidently from their shape and bark alone, and love, in particular, pointing out the beautiful oak trees that we see dotted about in our area of the country as we drive around.

For lots more nature craft inspiration check out our 12 Nature Crafts To Make With Things You Find On A Walk.

How to make a bark rubbing

It’s Day 4 of our 31 Days of Outdoor Activities for Toddlers! Today we experimented with creating Outdoor Tree Bark Rubbings in our backyard! Little Sister LOVED this activity spent at least 30 minutes coloring the tree!

This activity is brilliantly yet magically simple. The idea originated from an ancient book of kids activities I found in my basement, but the supplies only used a piece of notebook paper to do the rubbings. I love how interactive the easel paper ended up being!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Old Crayons with their wrappings removed

How to make a bark rubbing

1. Take the easel paper and wrap it around the trunk of your tree. Secure with some packing tape.

How to make a bark rubbing

2. Grab your crayons and make sure the wrappings have been removed.

How to make a bark rubbing

3. Let your little one get started coloring!

How to make a bark rubbing

The rubbings make the coolest pattern!

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

It was way more difficult for Little Sister to hold the crayon horizontally instead of vertically, as she normally holds it. I modeled and demonstrated how to create the rubbings but she ended up coloring on the paper how she normally does as well. It was a great fine motor experience for us both!

How to make a bark rubbing

This face seems to say, “Okay mom, enough pictures!” 🙂

Afterwards, reuse the paper as a table runner or cut it up into individual placemats!

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

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How to make a bark rubbingTrees are wonderful and there are all sorts of ways to enjoy them. Making bark rubbings with wax crayons and then turning them into works of art is just one.

Use lots of different colours and create a picture by cutting out different shapes. Your work will look stunning when displayed in a twig frame. And, if you are short of hugs right now from family members that you can’t see why not give the tree a hug too. It is well known that hugging a tree can make you feel happier and is good for your health!

You will need:

  • Bark rubbings
  • White paper
  • Wax crayons
  • Coloured paper for background
  • Glue
  • Twigs
  • Single hole punch
  • String
  • Scissors

Step 1

First collect your bark rubbings. If you haven’t got trees in your garden perhaps you can collect these on your daily walk. Put a sheet of thin white paper over the bark. Hold it firmly with one hand and rub over it using the long side of the crayon. You may need to remove the paper wrapping from around the crayon first. Collect a selection of rubbings from different trees and in different colours.

Step 2

Once back indoors, decide what picture you are going to create and cut out the shapes needed from the bark rubbings. Arrange the coloured shapes onto a piece of coloured paper and glue in place.

Step 3

To make the frame tie four twigs together so that they are slightly bigger than your picture.( See photo for illustration) Hole punch a hole in each corner of your picture and attach to the frame with string.

Step 4

Attach string to the top of the frame so that you are able to hang your finished art work for all to see.

This activity is a great way to see the different textures and patterns that appear in nature. Head outside and find some trees and leaves to use for your rubbings! Trees have bark to protect their insides from damage. In this activity, try and find different patterns and colours of bark. Leaves of trees and other plants have veiny patterns on them. These veins bring water and nutrients to different parts of the leaf. If you do our Nature Journal activity beforehand, you can add these pieces of art to it!

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

What You’ll Need

What to Do

Grab a piece of paper, some wax crayons, and head outside.

Find a tree or leaves on the ground.

Place paper on tree bark or on top of leaf.

Tip: It might work better to collect the leaves and take them home so that you have a hard surface such as a table to make a nice rubbing of the leaves you found.

Hold wax crayon sideways (take off the paper wrapping) and move crayon back and forth over the paper.

Tip: Don’t press too hard with your crayon while rubbing against the paper.

You should be able to see the pattern of the bark or leaves come through on the paper. See how many different patterns you can find.

Continue until your page is full, then grab another sheet of paper!

Want another challenge? Use a local plant ID book to help ID your leaves. In the early spring or in the fall, when there are no flowers or fruits around this is a great way to learn how to identify plants!

How to make a bark rubbing

The Tree Rubbings Activity is a simple and creative way to help children learn about patterns and textures. It can also help children learn about the different parts and characteristics of trees as they complete their tree rubbings. Children will love the opportunity to go outside and practice a new art technique!

Once children have completed their tree rubbings, have them compare the textures and patterns. How are they different? How are they similar? Does a tree’s age affect how its bark appears on paper? Did they get different patterns and textures from the same tree, or did the pattern remain the same? After you’ve discussed children’s findings, turn the tree rubbings into abstract art for your classroom walls!

Download our FREE printable below!

How to make a bark rubbing

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Required Materials:

1 Prep for the Activity

Gather some jumbo crayons and 9″ x 12″ paper to take outside. Make sure you remove the wrappers from the crayons. You may want to put the crayons in a small container or take a roll of tape with you to help hang the paper.

2 Make Tree Rubbings

Tape a piece of paper to a tree (or hold it up with your hands), and have children use the side of a crayon to rub over the paper and make the tree rubbing. Have them make tree rubbings of different trees in the area, and then compare the rubbings to see the different patterns and textures each tree has.

Include the Tree Rubbings Activity as part of your science, art, and outdoor learning lesson plans to provide children with opportunities for fun and creative learning experiences. Be sure to browse our list of outdoor learning products, resources, and professional development.

Create a name for the bark monsters. Try including name of the tree that the bark- rubbing came from in the monster name (e.g. birch beast, wych-elm witch, pine pixie). Think about how the bark monster might stay hidden from people in the wood and how it might live alongside other bark monsters on other trees.

Youth shaped guidance

Make sure young people choose their own trees to take the bark-rubbing from, to show which species of tree they are interested in, and let their creativity show when designing the monsters.

You will need

  • Sticky tape
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons or pencils

Before you begin

  • The person leading the activity could consider planning out a walk around some local woodland. Try to pick a place where there are trees from the ‘Native Scottish trees’ sheet. Make sure that everyone’s comfortable in woodland, and has appropriate clothing and footwear for the walk.

Run the activity

  1. When you’ve reached the woodland, everyone can walk around as one group and look for the trees listed on the ‘Native Scottish trees’ sheet. The person leading the activity checks that everyone has a copy of the sheet. The pictures on the sheet show the features of each tree that stands out most, so the group should focus on these when they are trying to find one in the wood.
  1. Everyone takes turns to do a bark-rubbing on a tree of their choice. Use tape to fix a sheet of paper to the trunk of the tree. Gently rub the end of a pencil or crayon over the paper, so that the pattern of the bark is left on the sheet. Some may wish to use different colours.
  2. The person leading the activity explains to the group that they’ll be using their bark-rubbings to create a bark monster. Each person can get creative and turn their bark-rubbing into a bark monster by imagining up a body shape, choosing features and deciding what their personalities will be like.
  1. Sit somewhere together and create the bark monsters. Choose whether to draw landscape (for long monsters) or portrait (for tall monsters). Use glue to stick on twigs and leaves. Make sure each bark monster has ears and a mouth.
  1. Anyone who finishes their bark monster drawing could draw some other items around it. Think about what your bark monster might like to eat or drink, where it might live or hide, and what it likes to do in its spare time.


The group have gone out into some woodland and identified some trees that are native to Scotland. Was anyone surprised at how different each tree from the list was? How many of those on the list were you able to find in your wood? Has anyone seen any of the trees anywhere else?

Everyone made bark-rubbings of the trees from the list and turned these into monsters. Which kind of bark made the best monster skin? Did you pick up any twigs or leaves to decorate your monster? Why was it important to make rubbings of the bark and not just take it, and only using the fallen twigs and leaves?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Follow the guidance for activities in Terrain Zero , or the guidance from the adventure page .

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Gardening and nature

Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.

Glue and solvents

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

Change the level of challenge

Take a bark-rubbing from a nearby tree and use this instead of seeking out a tree from the sheet. In diverse woodlands, it may be possible to take multiple rubbings from many different species of tree, which could make for an interesting monster.

Make bark monster creation more challenging by giving the group some more rules to follow. For example, each bark monster must live in the tree that its bark came from, so it will need a treehouse. Also, it only eats fish, so it must live near a source of water like a river.

Make it accessible

Pick a route that’s suitable for your group. Make sure anyone with mobility issues is comfortable when on the move and when taking the rubbing.

How to make a bark rubbing

1 Collect leaves.

Collect leaves of various shapes and sizes. You can use fresh leaves or dried fallen ones.

How to make a bark rubbing

2 Position a leaf.

Place a leaf with its bottom side facing up.

How to make a bark rubbing

3 Place paper over the leaf.

Put a sheet of paper, preferably thin or lightweight, over the leaf.

How to make a bark rubbing

4 Rub a crayon.

Rub the side of a crayon or an oil pastel gently on the area over the leaf. As you do this, you’ll see the colored areas start to take the shape of the leaf.

How to make a bark rubbing

5 Rub over the entire leaf.

Continue until you’ve rubbed over the entire leaf.

How to make a bark rubbing

6 Remove the leaf.

Remove the leaf from under the paper. This completes the basic steps for making a leaf rubbing.

How to make a bark rubbing

7 Make more leaf rubbings.

Make more leaf rubbings using other colors and different leaf shapes.

How to make a bark rubbing

Overlap the leaf rubbings to create a stunning picture!

More Ideas

How to make a bark rubbing

Use the leaf rubbings for craft projects.

Make several leaf rubbings. Cut out each leaf shape. Use the leaves for various craft projects.

To make a Fall Leaf Wreath, make leaf rubbings in autumn colors like red, yellow, orange and brown. Cut them out and arrange them into a beautiful wreath.

Connecting children to nature through playful experiences.

Autumn is in full glory here in New England and the trees seem ablaze. The colors are stunning and we never grow tired of stopping to appreciate the beauty of the season. It passes by all too quickly. So, with all this fall beauty why am I suggesting you and your child spend time looking at the trees’ bark?

How to make a bark rubbing

Besides being an activity to encourage your child to get close and personal with nature, it’s a great way to identify tree families when the last of the leaves have fallen. Have you ever stopped to really notice a tree’s bark? I thought I had until my children started pointing out some details as well as similarities and subtle differences among the different tree families in our yard. They even noticed differences in the bark of trees of the same type. Here are some photos taken from two different red maples (Acer rubrum) in our yard:

How to make a bark rubbing

Investigating tree bark with your child is a wonderful way to get to know the trees in your yard or neighborhood. Reading any one of these books together will get you off to a good start:

    by Gail Gibbons by Carole Gerber by Diane Burns by Nancy Hugo

Before you head outside, gather a few supplies: a magnifying glass, some crayons, and our printable. Once outside, have your child choose a tree that interests him. Ask him to spend some time observing it’s bark closely. Look at the bark at different levels and all the way around the tree. Is it all the same or are there differences? What color(s) it is? Are there any insects? Lichen? Can anything different be seen with a magnifying glass? How does the bark feel? How does it smell? Why might this tree have bark like this?

Now ask your child to make a bark rubbing. This is a great tactile activity and a fun way to record the bark texture for his nature journal.

How to make a bark rubbing

When your child is done investigating the first tree, help him find a second one who’s bark has different features (a maple and a birch, for example). Ask him to compare and contrast the two. Don’t forget to make a bark rubbing of this one too.

If you’d like to explore tree bark further with your child, here are some helpful sites to visit:

Here’s an easy project to use an excuse to get outside in spring, summer or fall. As an added bonus, you probably already have all the materials on hand.

What You Need:

  • Paper Roll
  • Rubbing Crayon (with the paper wrapper peeled off)
  • Pencil, Markers, Stickers or Crayons


1. Gather a sheet of paper and a crayon before going for a walk.

How to make a bark rubbing

2. As you are on your walk, find a tree you like with some nicely textured bark.

3. Place the paper on the tree bark and use the crayon lengthwise to make a rubbing of the bark.

4. Once you return home, set out everyone’s tree rubbings and compare them. Did some trees have bigger ridges in their texture that are farther apart than others? Was the bark texture stringy (long ridges), peeling (shredded/curling ribbons) or tessellated (scale-like)?

How to make a bark rubbing

Examples of Bark Textures – Oak, Pine, Cedar

5. Decorate your tree rubbing with an animal or plant that lives in a tree. Possible choices include birds, insects and ferns…but not aliens.

How to make a bark rubbing

Animals and Plants That Live in Trees_Owl, Spanish Moss, Butterfly

How to make a bark rubbing

After a very long time absence from nature walk activities, we finally could make some observation in the city plantation park this week end and in the church garden two weeks ago. It was very lucky that the park had already been dry from the rain, so we didn’t meet any puddle on the ground. All of the pictures bellow were taken by Ken and Tom. I just arranged them into scrapbook pages using Picture Collage Maker 3 .

Leave Observation

How to make a bark rubbing

Ken and Tom had some photo sessions to observe and classify the leaves.

We had leave observation in the church garden two weeks ago. We observed and clarify the leaves based on their shapes, arrangement, venation, and margin. We took pictures of some different kinds of leaves and clarify them based on the theory taken from Exploring Creation With Botany — Young Explorer Series (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries)). It is the time for kids to apply what they have got from the photography mini lessons. They enjoyed their time a lot. We put our observation into our unfinished lap booking. Here are some they did during the observation:

How to make a bark rubbing Leaves are classified by the venation or lines on it. There are three kinds of venation: parallel, pinnate, and palmate. The last picture is not successfully shot as it had back light and the distance was quite far from us. How to make a bark rubbing There are plenty of leaf margins groups of leaves, but we only get 4 of them. How to make a bark rubbing Here are some leaf shapes that we got: lanceolate, oblanceolate, and lobed. one of the pictures is blurred. How to make a bark rubbing There are three kinds of leaf arrangements that we got here: alternate, opposite, and whorled.

Bark Rubbings

This activity was done in the city plantation park yesterday. The aim of this activity is to show that each tree as unique pattern of bark. It might be similar with the human finger print. Nothing is really the same. We took the idea from Exploring Creation With Botany — Young Explorer Series (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries)), page 134.

How to make a bark rubbing

To show different kinds of bark patterns, kids did a bark rubbing activity.

Materials: A piece of paper and uncovered crayon

  • Lay the paper across a tree trunk.
  • Using sideways uncovered crayon, rub the paper so that we can see the texture of the bark printed on the paper.
  • The result can be documented as a notebooking page

Besides those activities, we also discus some differences between monocots and dicots. We also has some examples of angiosperms and gymnosperms.

By doing these activities, we have some reflection on:

  • how wonderful God has created the world with all the creatures. God give details on plants in each part of them, including leaves and bark patterns.
  • The plants give protection to many different kinds of insects. As we took pictures and did the bark rubbing, we found some insects living in the plants.
  • All of the leaves are beautiful and unique in its shapes and arrangement.

For some creative ideas of nature walk activities, you might visit my review that has some great hits here:

How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing How to make a bark rubbing

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How to make a bark rubbing

Collect and rub leaves with oil pastels to create a fun nature scene. Pair this craft with Earth Day or after a nature walk.


  • White Paper
  • Nature elements (bark, leaves etc)


To finish your piece, rub some leaves along the bottom of the paper to create the feel of grass.

Teacher’s Corner

Explore the ways nature and art come together with an oil pastel rubbing technique!

Lesson Objectives

  • Inspiration Everywhere: Nature-inspired the works of many famous artists, like Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Monet’s Water Lilies. How can the outside world inspire your students to get creative? For this project, encourage them to find leaves and other natural objects in their backyard or neighborhood park!
  • Picasso’s Pastels: The 20 th -century artist Pablo Picasso helped pioneer oil pastels as a formal art technique. He used vivid colors to brighten the works he created during his Blue and Rose Periods, which revolutionized cubism and surrealism art movements. Ask your students to observe Picasso’s work — how did he create different colors and shades with oil pastels?

Follow-up Discussion

This project gives a realistic impression of nature by rubbing the details of each leaf and bark onto paper with oil pastels — creating tons of unique lines and shapes! Encourage your students to step out of their comfort zones and find some inspiration from Picasso: How can they draw natural elements in the cubism or surrealism style?

Langley Park is one of our favourite places to go for a walk. The Temple Gardens are the perfect place for some imaginative play and adventures and there are also lots of geocaches to be found.

The girls have recently started bringing their “nature notebooks” with them on our walks. I make sure I have glue dots, washi tape, crayons and pencils in my bag so they can stick and create to their heart’s content using the things they find in the park. Other than restricting it to items that will fit in the book (no pebbles or big sticks!) the girls are free to create.

How to make a bark rubbing

We’ve tried doing some bark rubbing first, before moving on to making pictures using leaves and twigs. Sophie was just happy sticking leaves into her book but Jessica enjoyed being a little more creative. I loved the picture of a bird that she made.

How to make a bark rubbing

There are two places that we always have to visit every time we go to Langley Park. One of them is the playground. The other is the “fairy tree” – a big yew which is perfect for climbing and exploring. It also has lots of natural “slides” for the girls’ toys. This is our favourite tree out of all the trees in the park and the girls will spend ages there, letting their toys slide, investigating the inside of the tree or trying to climb some of the low branches.

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

We stopped off at the café before finishing our visit with a trip to the playground. The café is one of my favourite things about Langley Park. It has a great selection of cakes and the friendliest staff. There are also little chalkboards and a small selection of toys to help keep the children amused.

How to make a bark rubbing

I have to confess, that I’ve been fobbing the girls off from requesting ice-cream over the winter by telling them that the ice-cream counter was closed. This time though, they spotted someone else buying ice-cream so that excuse didn’t work!

How to make a bark rubbing

The girls had a fun afternoon and enjoyed making a start on their nature notebooks. I’m looking forward to seeing what they fill them with over the coming months.

Trees have three main parts: leaves, b ark , and roots. They each have a purpose for the tree to survive. Today we are going to look at the bark.

The bark of a tree is super important. Bark is the “skin” of a tree, and protects inner part of the tree from severe weather and harsh sun, bumps from animals, helps retain water, and even protects from forest fires. Bark is also a home for many animals. Not only insects like bark beetles but bats like to roost under the bark of the shagbark hickories.


How to make a bark rubbingbark rubbing:
Grab that nature journal you created last week and take it outside.

  • nature journal or any white piece of paper
  • crayon without the paper around it

Find a tree. Place a blank sheet of your journal up to the bark. Take your crayon and rub away. Don’t do it too hard or you will break your paper.

Do this with many different trees. There are trees with smooth , scaly, bumpy, or craggy bark .
Try to identify the tree and label your bark rubbing.

Extra challenge: take your journal outside and try to draw different types of bark .

nature id.

This tree is found throughout Pennsylvania. The bark is smooth, the leaves turn bright yellow in the fall, and the nuts feed lots of animals.

How to make a bark rubbing

Answer: This is a beech tree from Crow’s Nest Preserve. The bark scars easily and you may see drawings or initials in the bark (please don’t do that – they remain because the tree is unable to heal itself, and opens the tree up to infection.)

day two: for the birds

How to make a bark rubbing

Always something new to discover.

Bird nests can be found in many different s hapes and sizes . They could be a n intricate hanging basket like an oriole , or a scrap e in the ground like a killdeer . We are going to look at nests in trees .


A bird nest is place for a bird to lay eggs and take care of them until they grow wing feathers that are large enough for flight. When a baby bird grows those feathers we say it has fledged. Once the babies fledge the nest is no longer needed. Some bird nests are holes in trees, some are made with grasses, some with spider webs, or even made with trash. Spring is the time for birds to start making nests.

fun fact .
Bald Eagles construct the largest nest of all birds in North America. It can weigh more than 2 tons (4,000 pounds!), measure 8 feet wide, and 10-15 feet deep.


Go on a nature walk around your backyard or in your neighborhood. Don’t forget your journal! You can write down all the nest s you see. Some may be leftovers from last year, some may be new. See if any bird is flying in and out of the area of the nest.

Collect things you think a bird might use for a nest. You might even find something around your house. Once you collect everything pretend to be a bird! Use your thumb and pointer finger as a beak and try to weave the items you collected into a bird nest.

If you want to get super dirty, use mud. (Robins use mud to help the nest keep its shape.)

Older kids and adults, you can be a scientist. Join Nest Watch. For more than a decade people like you have helped scientist by collecting valuable data on the successes and failure s of nesting birds.

nature id:

If you visit our nature preserves you might wonder what is inside the wooden boxes you see. Today’s nature id challenge has the answer! Hint: this type of nest belongs to a that bird was declining in numbers because of habitat loss. They typically make their nests inside hollow logs.

How to make a bark rubbing

Answer: Eastern Bluebird nest. This picture of a bluebird box was taken at Green Hills Preserve. You can’t miss these birds, they are bright blue on the top and rusty on the bottom. Decades ago, Natural Lands started the bluebird box monitoring, currently we monitor more than 420 bluebird boxes!

day three: seeds and flowers

Today we’ll learn about the flowers and seeds that come from trees. How to make a bark rubbing


Spring is upon us and trees are in bloom. You may have noticed on your walks bright yellow forsythia, big showy magnolias, dainty redbuds, beautiful pink c herry, or puffballs of pear flowers . Soon we will get the show of lilacs, dogwoods, crapemyrtle and all the beautiful blooms of spring.

Mos t trees go through a series of eight growth stages that extend from their dormant state over the winter to the time when they grow fruit. As winter ends, buds develop on the trees. Once these buds burst, clusters of green start to open, eventually turning into buds that become the flower blossoms . Flowers get pollinated by wind, insects, bats , and many other ways. T hen the flowers produce a fruit that contains a seed.

nature id:

Do you know what this tree is? Here’s a hint: In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted 3,000 of these type of trees to the nation’s capital.

How to make a bark rubbing

Answer: c herry blossom. This cherry tree is growing at Stoneleigh: a natural garden. Cherry blossom season in the U.S. is from mid-March to mid-April. Many people say spring arrives when the cherry trees start blooming.


How to make a bark rubbing

You can use nature to make art.

Andy Goldsworthy is a world – r enowned artist that uses found objects in nature to create art. The art is temporary as the wind blows and the rain falls , will disperse i ts beautiful creations.

Get inspired by his artwork and create your own.

Don’t forget to take your journal and draw out what you would like to create. Take a picture of it when done and post it to our Facebook page.

Sometimes a tree can tell you more than can be read in a book. Carl Jung

How to make a bark rubbing

Enjoy the blog today as we encourage you to observe.

How to make a bark rubbing

Use a pencil or a crayon to make a texture rubbing.

When was the last time that you took time to observe the trees around you? Trees have a language of their own. They have an artful language.

Take time to explore the trees around you and observe the textures they offer you. To appreciate trees you can collect as many parts of trees as possible. If you gather items from a tree that have fallen naturally you have a chance to observe them close up. You can arrange the collection to gain a visual appeal, hang, study, or draw the findings. Leaves, bark, branches, fruit, nuts, seeds…all aspects of the tree can be studied.

A low-cost creative idea that is always a fun activity to do (especially in the Autumn) is to do a tree rubbing of tree bark or of tree leaves. It is a way to appreciate the texture of trees. You can easily create an over-lapping effect with various rubbings and compare and contrast your artful finds.

If you take time for a nature walk on school grounds, in your neighborhood, area park or running trail of sorts take along supplies to do a rubbing on the site. You will need paper thatHow to make a bark rubbing is not too thick, pencil or crayons in various colors. Place your paper on the surface of the tree bark and rub in one direction gentle enough to not rip the paper but, vigorously enough to reveal an area of texture marks from the surface underneath. A good idea would be to also take along a pencil sharpener and mini trash baggies if you are planning on using your pencil to rub many images. Crayons can be used best from the side of the crayon easily if the paper wrapping is removed prior to rubbing a surface. Again, make sure that you have a trash bag for your pencil or crayon waste. Take along a paper clip for your papers so that they can be collected and kept together if there is a breeze outdoors that day as well.

Enjoy viewing these samples of various tree truck textures. You may be able to collect a larger variety of sample rubbings from rubbing at sites based on different locations.

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

How to make a bark rubbing

Good luck creating your creative tree rubbings. Hug a tree in the name of art.

This week, Nature School will focus on identifying trees by their bark patterns.
What to Do:
1. Download the two bark pattern pages.
2. Participate virtually by watching the YouTube video below.
3. Take a screen shot and sketch the pattern and put it in your nature notebook.
5. Follow–up activity #1 – identify trees in your neighborhood/park by their bark pattern and create a bar graph.
4. Follow–up activity #2 – Watch the second video by Jeff Saslow, a St. Louis Park teacher, on making bark rubbings, then go out and make some bark rubbings in your neighborhood/park. Put the labeled rubbings in your nature notebook.

I hope this week’s nature school will inspire you to explore nature with your parents/ friends and try to identify trees in your neighborhood/park by the bark.

Tree Bark Patterns
Below are two pages of tree bark patterns. Use this handout to help you identify the trees on the video and/or when you take a tree identification hike in your neighborhood/park. You can download the bark pattern pages by clicking on the link below each page and put them in your nature notebook.
How to make a bark rubbing

Download the first page of the tree bark handout by clicking on the link below:

How to make a bark rubbing

Download page 2 of the tree bark handout by clicking on the link below:

Now you are ready to experience Identifying Trees by Their Bark video. The video is divided into eight stations. At each station write down the name of the tree using your Tree Bark Identification handouts.

Tree Key at Each Station
Station 1 Paper Birch Station 2 Black Cherry Station 3 Red Oak
Station 4 Bur Oak Station 5 Ironwood Station 6 Hackberry
Station 7 Quaking Aspen Station 8 Cottonwood

Follow-up activity #1: It is time to get out and see if you an identify trees in your neighborhood/park. 1. Keep track of what trees you see. 2. Write the names of each tree at the bottom of the graph. 3. For each each tree you identify, add a bar to the graph.
You can download the activity by clicking on the link below the picture:

How to make a bark rubbing

Download the Common Trees in your Neighborhood below:

Follow-up activity #2 – Watch the second video created by Jeff Saslow, a St. Louis Park teacher, on making bark rubbings, then go out and make some bark rubbings in your neighborhood/park. Label the tree names of each rubbing in your nature notebook.

How to make a bark rubbing

Deer are majestic creatures when they’re bounding through open fields and frolicking in someone else’s woods. When they come into your yard and start damaging trees, they become something else entirely. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your saplings from deer damage.

Why are Deer Rubbing Antlers on Trees?

Living close to nature can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but even the most dedicated lovers of wildlife may get pretty frustrated when they discover the local deer rubbed the bark off the trees in their yard. Not only does this behavior cause unsightly damage, it can permanently disfigure or kill young trees.

Male deer (bucks) grow a new set of antlers each year, but they don’t start out as the horn-like headgear that normally springs to mind. Instead, those male deer have to rub away a velvety covering in order to reveal their antlers in all their glory. This rubbing behavior typically starts in early fall, with the male deer running the surfaces of their horns against saplings that are anywhere from one to four inches (2.5 to 10 cm.) in diameter.

Aside from the obvious visual deterioration, deer rubbing tree bark is very bad for the tree they’re rubbing on. Peeling back just the bark can open the tree up to damage from pests and disease, but typical deer damage doesn’t stop there. Once the rub has gotten through the cork layer, the delicate cambium is at risk. This tissue layer is where both xylem and phloem, the transport tissues every tree needs to survive, develop. If just one section of the tree’s cambium is damaged, it might survive, but deer will often rub most of the way around a tree, causing the plant to slowly starve.

Protecting Trees from Deer Rubs

Although there are a number of popular ways to scare deer away from gardens, a determined male deer in rut isn’t going to be bothered by a banging pie tin or the smell of soap hanging from your tree. To keep deer from rubbing trees, you’ll need a much more hands-on approach.

Tall woven wire fences are extremely effective, especially if they’re erected around the tree in such a way that the deer can’t jump inside and they’re supported by very strong posts. Just make sure that the wire is far enough away from the tree that it can’t be bent into the tree’s bark if a buck were to attempt to rub through the fence – this will make the situation a lot worse.

When you’ve got lots of trees to protect or aren’t sure about building a fence around your trees, a plastic trunk wrap or strips of rubber tubing are your best bet. These materials protect the tree from deer damage without causing damage of their own when force is applied to their surfaces. If you decide to use a tree wrap, make sure it reaches a point about five feet (1.5 m.) off the ground and leave it up through the winter.