Book of the Trees Nature Outing: Cave Creek Botanical Gardens


Our 7th graders at co-op use the classical curriculum Book of the Trees from Memoria Press. As we are approaching the end of the curriculum it wants us to go out and nature journal a tree each week. This is exactly why we formed the Cardinal’s Nature Club – so we could see what we learn in science first hand.

The Cave Creek Botanical Gardens is a free outdoor paved nature walk of all kinds of desert type botanicals. We saw lots of really interesting things and learned four new desert trees: Sweet Acacia, Texas Ebony, Desert Willow, Texas Mountain Laurel (you’ll see in pictures below). The favorite of the kids were the “furry” cacti! They thought they were just the best–they looked like something out of Monsters Inc!

One of the world’s largest sundials
Later that evening was the tree lighting, choirs singing, and a movie showing of Elf
Crested Whortleberry Cactus
Monstrose Cereus Cactus
This one looked like it was made of pinecones!
The “Old Man of the Andes”
The “Old Man of Mexico”
Quiver Tree – the bees were loving it
Texas Ebony Tree – the pods are dark and large with dark seeds inside, the leaves look like moringa leaves, small and round, very spiny and disjointed limbs
The Texas Mountain Laurel. Despite her face E really liked this one. The pods were short and beige colored, they had tiny hairs that made them soft to touch and the surprise was when you cracked it open inside was bright red beans!
Desert Willow – trunk like a mesquite but the leaves were long and narrow. The bean pods were long and skinny too.
Nature Journaling!
Gila Monster slide! Gila Monsters are the only poisonous lizard in the world and one of the largest! Don’t let them bite you! They don’t like to let go!
Blowing bubbles on the waterfall bridge and the rest of us are eating fresh citrus we picked from our backyard.

Curriculum Recommended: The Book of the Trees Complete Set for grades 6th+

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