On Saturday, May 18 eight kids and one chaperone from St. Peter's Teen Center in Dorchester joined Boston ICO volunteers Allison, Andrew, and Amy for a fun day at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. We all gathered at St. Peter's in the morning to make lunches and get to know each other. After getting to know names and everyone sharing their favorite subject in school, which ranged from math to geography to PE, we headed to the Arboretum.
Only one or two kids had visited the Arboretum before, so it was fun for all of us to explore it through new eyes. We started with a walk up Peters Hill. Before the walk began, Allison asked the kids to name parts of a tree and then to find interesting examples as we explored. We had teams of 2 and 3 looking for bark, roots, branches, and flowers and found lots of great examples. Some favorites included bark with thistle-like spikes, branches growing downward and back into the ground, trunks that looked elephants, and blossoms of magnolia and lilacs.
At the top of Peters Hill we took in the amazing view of the Boston skyline and some energetic kids and a leader (go, Andrew) raced up and down the dirt path - down was a considerably easier than up for some. Before heading back down the hill we played a game to test everyone's observation skills. Allison hid a pencil three times in a small cluster of trees and each time the kids had to find the pencil and then silently leave the area. First the pencil was on the ground, then in a tree, and then in Allison's ponytail. It was a great way for everyone to silently search and use their keen eyes.
We then took a good walk around the Arboretum and reached the ponds for lunch. On the way we took a tour through the Beech Path and the Lilac row. After lunch we went on a photo scavenger hunt. The kids read the clues as we walked back to the cars. On the hunt we found cherry trees, tulip trees, magnolias, the oldest bonsai, and Japanese maples. As we arrived back at the car we recounted all the countries and regions that we had seen represented in the trees, such as Norway, England, Canada, Japan, East Asia, and North America, to name a few. The closing circle gave us the opportunity to share our favorite part of the day.
Link to photos here: