Interactive Tree Workshop
“Each generation takes the Earth as trustees.”
—J. Sterling Morton
Location: Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Time: 10:00 AM
Duration: 1 hr 45 mins (with a snack break provided).
Available: September 2019 to June 2020
Contact: Lee Kennedy
These are the words spoken by Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton back in the late 1800’s, and they ring as true today as they did back then. With the Earth undergoing climate change, it is more urgent than ever that our children become the new stewards of our Trees. It seems with every generation, we become more and more removed from nature, and as a result, many children do not have the opportunity to cultivate a relationship to the natural world, especially to our much needed and wonderful trees. Trees are the givers of life, and a new generation of guardians are needed to protect and watch over them. (When a child provides a future for a tree, a tree will provide a future for a child!)
This workshop is meant to connect students with trees, and to help them see trees as “individuals” as unique and worthwhile as any other living entity. Through personalization, children will begin to see trees as “their new BFFs” (best friends forever!), with long life spans that provide us with life sustaining health benefits. Best of all, this educational and laughter filled workshop is presented by…a walking, talking TREE!
Taught by “THE TREE”, a comedic costume character created by Professional New York City Actor, Teacher and Improviser Joe Whelski, students will learn in a fun, laughter filled way—helping them to easily recall with joy the important messaging they will receive about caring for and protecting the future of our Trees! Through interactive stories and comedic improvisational games, children will learn the importance of our trees, and strategies to care for trees in their own communities. They will create a craft that helps them relate to their new tree best friend, and in a workshop graduation ceremony, will get to hug and take a picture with their “own personal tree”. Finally they’ll pledge an oath to always love and help their new BFF. The students will then become our much needed, future tree ambassadors!
“It was such a wonderful experience for the students in my class. The Tree Program was educational, engaging, and fun. The program fit in perfectly with our third grade Science curriculum. It was the perfect real life extension that helped to build a greater awareness of just what a valuable resource our trees are. The children were given a tour of the beautiful Arboretum and invited to come back with their families.
The living tree was the perfect guide for our trip. He was both engaging and fascinating as he taught and entertained the students. They were very proud of the craft that they were able to make and bring home. The students have already begun to use the wooden book you gave the class to generate ideas of how to help preserve our trees.
Thank you again for making this new Tree Program available to us. I look forward to bringing future classes to the Arboretum.”
Award winning New York City Professional Actor, Teacher, Director and Improviser Joe Whelski created “The Tree” to educate and engage the public; and to create a fun and impactful way to spread awareness for our trees while entertaining people of all ages. He is a teacher at the world famous Magnet Theater for improvisation, and has starred in over 20 stage productions in NYC, NJ & PA. In addition, Joe is an accomplished filmmaker who has created national and local PSA commercials for The Shark Angels, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Bideawee, Born Free USA, DAVSS (w/VO by Dr. Who #4 Tom Baker), and many others. Joe is also an inaugural member and creative director for the Magnet Theater Video Lab, and alumni of American Academy of Dramatic Arts & The New School (NYC), and Kutztown University (PA).
|Official Website||Magnet Theater||Vimeo|
What ages/grade levels will be served through this project or program?
Approximately 20 to 25 kids; grade levels 3rd to 5th.
What is the cost of the program?
FOR SCHOOLS: Please apply for a grant from New York State Parks, Connect Kids to Parks Field Trip Grant program. For contact information please click here. The cost of the Interactive Tree Workshop is $665.00.