Jan 14, 2021 - 04:22 pm CST

 

Written by Evelyn; October 1, 2020

 

Sometimes all one needs is some food for the soul. For me, spending time in nature solves that. Bike riding, hiking, or even sitting in my backyard on the trampoline as the sun sets. I am currently in a part of my life where a lot of things are changing. New doors are opening and I’m growing more curious about the world. The pandemic has caused a lot of last-minute planning, but having time to meditate helps. Feeling the breeze on my skin, the birds communicating with each other, leaves rustling. It all brings my head back down.

We all think about how nature needs us, but I think we need nature more.  

Can you guess what tree this leaf is from? My guess is here

 

     

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Jan 08, 2021 - 12:32 pm CST

Banner that says "Stories Through Nature: a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council". The words are hand written and playful. The text is surrounded by illustrations of leaves.

Written by Antonia; August 26, 2020

 

For the last tree I would be filming in Austin, I decided to film the Ashe Juniper tree in my backyard. I’ve always loved Junipers, although I’m not entirely sure why, and it’s always been my favorite tree near my house. I’ve always watched it through my kitchen window while doing the dishes, hoping to catch sight of a cardinal or mockingbird landing on its branches. Such moments, though small, brought me a lot of happiness.  

As I sat in my backyard, beneath this tree, it began to sink in that I wouldn’t be at home for a while. Until then, I hadn’t really registered how far from home I would be and, while I didn’t feel scared about it, I felt a bit of shock regarding how big my next step in life would be. I used this moment to think about this, listening to the sound of wind chimes in the distance and birds in the trees around me.  

(Also, at one point, my neighbors’ chickens hopped over our fence and began exploring our backyard, which was very fun to watch).

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Jan 04, 2021 - 04:57 pm CST

Written by Edgar; September 2020

 

The beginning of my college days began in a new city during a pandemic. Everyone wore masks and followed COVID regulations. It felt welcoming and fresh. Trees align the streets of Boston University allowing me to appreciate all sorts of colors during fall. 2020 has been a rough year, however these colorful trees have given me energy to keep going through this weird year.

Can you guess which tree these leaves belong to? Click here for my guess!

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Jan 04, 2021 - 04:17 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; September 28, 2020

 

By now, I would have been in Philly — meeting other freshman, adjusting to a new city, new weather. Unfortunately, 2020 had different plans in mind. My college campus decided to close for the fall semester one week before I was meant to fly out. I was so looking forward to living with my best friend and starting a new chapter of my life. After missing out on prom, graduation, and a pennant ceremony, college was the one thing that shouldn’t have gone wrong.

This surprise has brought around a lot of good things though. I am happy to be spending more time with my friends and family at home. I have had more opportunities arise and I’m getting to know Austin’s greenspaces little by little. Although this isn’t what I imagined this fall to look like, I do believe things happen for a reason.  

These next couple of leaves were found at Barkley Meadows on an early and cool Saturday morning.  

Can you guess what it is? My guess is here

  

Image: Leaf rubbing showing details of a lobed leaf 2 to 5 inches wide.

Photo: A rusty colored leaf with lobes is held between two fingers.   Photo: A small tree with a green canopy and many lobed leaves in a park on a bright, sunny day.

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Dec 18, 2020 - 03:05 pm CST

 

In 2020, the City of Austin's Community Tree Preservation Division released the Community Tree Priority Map. This resource prioritization tool is for everyone to use including city programs, partners, policy makers, Urban Forest Grant applicants, arborists and more. It provides access to relevant data comparable across Austin’s neighborhoods. For example, tree canopy data helps uncover disparities in historically under-canopied areas. This enables people to decide where activities like planting, tree care, and community outreach could occur around Austin. 

Developing the tool entailed consulting with many people, including arborists, planners, tree planters, students, and others. Youth engagement proved instrumental in establishing the relative weight of the priorities.    

Additionally, the City's Youth Forest Council and Park Ranger Cadets expressed their admiration through words of gratitude and letters to trees. One participant wrote,  

“I am thankful for the shade trees bring on hot summer days. I am thankful for the way they calm me down so I am able to listen to nature and feel at ease. I am thankful for the clean air they give me so I am able to breathe.”  

The map matches survey priorities with data points including tree canopy, temperature, mental health, and air pollution. It then bakes this info into a simple score. In the map, red equals higher scores. Higher scores mean higher priority. This is where we’d like to invest more planting and stewardship activities.

In the end, priority areas help us gauge success. For instance, are activities like tree planting occurring in higher priority areas? So far the data tell us, 60% of tree planting occurred in the moderate to highest need areas over the last five years. Moving forward, we will encourage future projects in priority areas. 

 

Austin’s Community Tree Priority Map 

Interested in learning more? View the interactive map here!

 

Do you have an idea to benefit Austin's urban forest in high priority areas? We encourage you to explore and apply for the Urban Forest Grant, which can help fund your tree-related ideas.

Article contributed by Alan Halter, GIS Analyst Senior with the Community Tree Preservation Division. Email your questions to Alan by clicking here.  

Additional Information:  

Stewardship Investment: The Community Tree Report seeks to share how the City invests in the activities that support Austin’s urban forest and community of stewards. The Report features investment visualizations, an interactive map of projects, and the raw data for your own analysis project.  

Urban Forest Benefits: Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (UFIA) completed an assessment in Austin in 2016. Austin’s urban forest monitoring program and produces estimates of the quantity, health, composition, and benefits of urban trees and forests. 

City of Austin Strategic Direction 2023 (SD23) Alignment: Tree Planting Prioritization Map supports the SD23 Government that works for all (GTW.10).  

 

 

Dec 18, 2020 - 12:29 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Antonia; August 20, 2020

Live Oak

 

As the date for my departure to Philadelphia grew closer, I decided to visit a place I hadn’t been to in a long time. In Austin, there’s a lovely park behind this popular grocery store in my area. As a child, I hosted and attended many birthday parties there, as well as play dates with friends. I spent countless hours running down the grassy hills, feeding ducks at the pond, and tediously crossing the “rock bridge” (which we were not actually allowed to do, but we ignored the signs). In this video, you will see the ancient Live Oak tree that I consider a fundamental part of my childhood. I used to climb this tree with my friends and sit in the branches with them. We’d play pretend and other games, running underneath its canopy. 

While I frequented the grocery store a lot during high school, I never really had time to visit the park, so I enjoyed the nostalgia I felt walking through the area again. Luckily, I was able to film the tree when there weren’t a lot of people nearby. As I sat under this tree, I thought of my past here in Austin and listened to the sound of the helicopters flying overhead, landing on the nearby hospital. After a while, some kids approached and began climbing the tree, so I decided to get going. I heard them screaming and laughing as I walked away. 

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

  

Dec 11, 2020 - 02:04 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; October 23, 2020

 

Hello you. I heard you are interested in Leaf and Tree Identification! You are in the right place. 🙂

First, I want to share the resources I have used to identify my collection of leaves so you can later identify yours!  

Second, pick leaves you like and are interested in learning about! As you will see from some of my past and future posts, the leaves hold a special meaning to me — whether it be the first red leaf I had seen or a leaf with a gorgeous, shiny black color I was curious about. Also, keep track of the leaf's surroundings.

Some questions to ask yourself for better understanding your leaves are: 

  • What park were the leaves in? 

  • What kind of environment was around it? 

  • What season did you pick this leaf in? What was the weather like? 

  • Was the leaf damaged? Were there small ecosystems on or within the leaf? 

Remember: follow all Austin Public Health guidelines when in parks. Make sure to keep a 6-foot distance from others and wear a mask. A bottle of hand sanitizer won’t hurt either. 😊

Third, I strongly recommend having a journal or paper around to keep track of the characteristics of the leaf as you follow along on either of the website tools I listed above. This could also help you retain the information better.

Fourth, have fun with it! I decided to take a more artistic approach by doing leaf rubbings and labeling the characteristics on paper. Learning about nature can be fun! 

How to create a leaf rubbing: 

  1. Have a blank piece of paper, a crayon, a leaf, and a flat surface ready. 

  1. Place the leaf under the blank piece of paper 

  1. Using the side of your crayon (or pencil/colored pencil), rub it on the paper while holding the paper and leaf in place 

  1. After rubbing/coloring, you should have a beautiful traced leaf on the once blank paper! 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Dec 09, 2020 - 03:52 pm CST

Written by Antonia; August 16, 2020

Jerusalem Thorn

(Parkinsonia aculeata)

 

This tree was on a trail I sometimes walked back in high school during my weekly Austin Youth River Watch meetings. We didn’t walk down this path very often, but the few times that we did, it was always a beautiful sight and I have pleasant memories of exploring the area with my friends. Had it been a normal year, I probably would have come out here with those friends to film this. But it isn’t a normal year and it has been a while since the last time I saw any of my friends in person. Instead, my parents gave me a ride and waited in the car and, while the resulting silence was nice, I couldn’t help but wish I had someone there to share the scenery with.

It was hot outside, despite my best efforts to get there early enough so that the cool temperatures from the night before still lingered in the air. Even though it was a bit uncomfortable, I still took a moment to stop and breathe. As I walked along the trail and looked out onto the familiar landscapes I had explored in my final year of high school, I was reminded that, while my life had completely changed in a matter of days, I could still relive my memories through nature. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return again with my friends someday soon.

 

Photo: Seeds and leaves of a Jerusalem Thorn    Photo: Flowers of a Jerusalem Thorn

 

Unfortunately, the leaves dried a bit before I was able to take a photo. The leaf on the far right shows how this trees’ leaves are pinnately compound, as the leaflets are on both sides of the petiole. The fruit of this tree, on the far left, is a legume with many seeds. This tree also produces yellow flowers, which I didn’t get a good picture of, so I’m providing a photo from the internet (credits at end of blog post).

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

Image Source: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/jerusalem-thorn.aspx

 

Dec 04, 2020 - 04:00 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; August 13, 2020

 

Photo: Tall tree with red leaves at the University of Pennsylvania campus.

 

 

 

 

2019 had been my year. A year full of traveling, fun, and friends. But it was also a year full of work, effort, and grit. As I was standing outside the University of Pennsylvania on October 15, 2019, I saw a thousand red leaves in awe and, somehow, this tree had signified all of my effort to get there. It was proudly standing there, and its beautiful red color made it shine and stand out from all others. The fall season signified its time to rest, to let time do its thing. It was time for me too. My college application process was coming to an end. I picked up a leaf and carefully put it inside my agenda. It was a tiny triumph moment for me — knowing that I got to Philadelphia! I had gotten so far, literally. This red leaf signified how far I had come. And I later came to know it would mark my home for the next four years.  

Can you guess what type of tree this leaf comes from? Here is the answer.  

 

 

 

 

Drawing: Leaf with 4 Lobes; Text describes the leaf as Red/Brown, Having a Downy Underside, and Having 1 Petiole    Photograph: Red Leaf with 4 Lobes

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nov 30, 2020 - 02:25 pm CST

A banner that says "Stories Through Nature: A Project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council"

 

Hey fellow tree enthusiasts! 

Welcome to our Community Action Project (CAP). We are three interns working with the City of Austin’s Development Services Department. Through our one-year journey, we have expanded our knowledge of the urban forest, helped on projects benefiting the community, and come to appreciate the nature around us even more. 

 

What is an urban forest? 

The urban forest consists of trees that can be seen in and around the city. That tree on your school’s campus? Part of the urban forest. Those trees located in Mayfield Park and Laguna Gloria? Part of the urban forest, too!  

 

What is forest bathing? 

Inspired by the Japanese practice called shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is the act of being outdoors and using the ambiance of nature around you to improve mindfulness.  

 

What is leaf identification? 

Leaf identification consists of identifying leaves on a tree in order to identify the type of tree.  

 

About Stories Through Nature

These blog posts are set up to welcome you into the skills and interests we have developed from the internship. We will focus on leaf and tree identification, as well as forest bathing. Below is a more detailed introduction from each of us. You can also read more about us and our cohort at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.
 

Edgar

The Youth Forest Council was my opportunity to learn about the green spaces in Austin and being able to appreciate the green spaces that are around the city. Nature is my go-to whenever I am feeling stressed or just looking for fun. Being able to learn about the efforts put into the urban forest gives me a deeper appreciation for the trees that surround me. This appreciation has been heightened during my move to Boston University, where I am studying Electrical Engineering. Even through this stressful time, being able to spend time outside and enjoying nature allows me to reset and focus better on the tasks at hand. 

 

Antonia

I applied to the Youth Forest Council in the hopes of learning more about careers that would allow me to focus on the environment. I’ve always appreciated nature and do my best to be involved in protecting it. I’m currently attending Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and I’m planning on majoring in Biology. While it’s been a stressful year and my future is full of uncertainties, spending time in nature has served as a nice way to cope. This is my first time working on a project of this scale and, while I’m nervous, I hope that you are able to learn something new and appreciate nature with us. 

 

Evelyn

I was attracted to the Youth Forest Council because I wanted to give my part back to nature. After being in a nature-immersive mentorship program during middle school, I felt like it was my responsibility to further educate myself and my community about the environment in hopes to properly maintain and share it. Currently, I am studying Organizational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. While our learning has been online and remote, it allows for me to spend more time in Austin’s greenspaces. I hope you are able to learn more about the trees around you and you grow curious to their characteristics and what makes them and their leaves unique.  

Jan 08, 2021 - 12:32 pm CST

Banner that says "Stories Through Nature: a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council". The words are hand written and playful. The text is surrounded by illustrations of leaves.

Written by Antonia; August 26, 2020

 

For the last tree I would be filming in Austin, I decided to film the Ashe Juniper tree in my backyard. I’ve always loved Junipers, although I’m not entirely sure why, and it’s always been my favorite tree near my house. I’ve always watched it through my kitchen window while doing the dishes, hoping to catch sight of a cardinal or mockingbird landing on its branches. Such moments, though small, brought me a lot of happiness.  

As I sat in my backyard, beneath this tree, it began to sink in that I wouldn’t be at home for a while. Until then, I hadn’t really registered how far from home I would be and, while I didn’t feel scared about it, I felt a bit of shock regarding how big my next step in life would be. I used this moment to think about this, listening to the sound of wind chimes in the distance and birds in the trees around me.  

(Also, at one point, my neighbors’ chickens hopped over our fence and began exploring our backyard, which was very fun to watch).

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Jan 04, 2021 - 04:57 pm CST

Written by Edgar; September 2020

 

The beginning of my college days began in a new city during a pandemic. Everyone wore masks and followed COVID regulations. It felt welcoming and fresh. Trees align the streets of Boston University allowing me to appreciate all sorts of colors during fall. 2020 has been a rough year, however these colorful trees have given me energy to keep going through this weird year.

Can you guess which tree these leaves belong to? Click here for my guess!

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Jan 04, 2021 - 04:17 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; September 28, 2020

 

By now, I would have been in Philly — meeting other freshman, adjusting to a new city, new weather. Unfortunately, 2020 had different plans in mind. My college campus decided to close for the fall semester one week before I was meant to fly out. I was so looking forward to living with my best friend and starting a new chapter of my life. After missing out on prom, graduation, and a pennant ceremony, college was the one thing that shouldn’t have gone wrong.

This surprise has brought around a lot of good things though. I am happy to be spending more time with my friends and family at home. I have had more opportunities arise and I’m getting to know Austin’s greenspaces little by little. Although this isn’t what I imagined this fall to look like, I do believe things happen for a reason.  

These next couple of leaves were found at Barkley Meadows on an early and cool Saturday morning.  

Can you guess what it is? My guess is here

  

Image: Leaf rubbing showing details of a lobed leaf 2 to 5 inches wide.

Photo: A rusty colored leaf with lobes is held between two fingers.   Photo: A small tree with a green canopy and many lobed leaves in a park on a bright, sunny day.

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Dec 18, 2020 - 03:05 pm CST

 

In 2020, the City of Austin's Community Tree Preservation Division released the Community Tree Priority Map. This resource prioritization tool is for everyone to use including city programs, partners, policy makers, Urban Forest Grant applicants, arborists and more. It provides access to relevant data comparable across Austin’s neighborhoods. For example, tree canopy data helps uncover disparities in historically under-canopied areas. This enables people to decide where activities like planting, tree care, and community outreach could occur around Austin. 

Developing the tool entailed consulting with many people, including arborists, planners, tree planters, students, and others. Youth engagement proved instrumental in establishing the relative weight of the priorities.    

Additionally, the City's Youth Forest Council and Park Ranger Cadets expressed their admiration through words of gratitude and letters to trees. One participant wrote,  

“I am thankful for the shade trees bring on hot summer days. I am thankful for the way they calm me down so I am able to listen to nature and feel at ease. I am thankful for the clean air they give me so I am able to breathe.”  

The map matches survey priorities with data points including tree canopy, temperature, mental health, and air pollution. It then bakes this info into a simple score. In the map, red equals higher scores. Higher scores mean higher priority. This is where we’d like to invest more planting and stewardship activities.

In the end, priority areas help us gauge success. For instance, are activities like tree planting occurring in higher priority areas? So far the data tell us, 60% of tree planting occurred in the moderate to highest need areas over the last five years. Moving forward, we will encourage future projects in priority areas. 

 

Austin’s Community Tree Priority Map 

Interested in learning more? View the interactive map here!

 

Do you have an idea to benefit Austin's urban forest in high priority areas? We encourage you to explore and apply for the Urban Forest Grant, which can help fund your tree-related ideas.

Article contributed by Alan Halter, GIS Analyst Senior with the Community Tree Preservation Division. Email your questions to Alan by clicking here.  

Additional Information:  

Stewardship Investment: The Community Tree Report seeks to share how the City invests in the activities that support Austin’s urban forest and community of stewards. The Report features investment visualizations, an interactive map of projects, and the raw data for your own analysis project.  

Urban Forest Benefits: Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (UFIA) completed an assessment in Austin in 2016. Austin’s urban forest monitoring program and produces estimates of the quantity, health, composition, and benefits of urban trees and forests. 

City of Austin Strategic Direction 2023 (SD23) Alignment: Tree Planting Prioritization Map supports the SD23 Government that works for all (GTW.10).  

 

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Dec 18, 2020 - 12:29 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Antonia; August 20, 2020

Live Oak

 

As the date for my departure to Philadelphia grew closer, I decided to visit a place I hadn’t been to in a long time. In Austin, there’s a lovely park behind this popular grocery store in my area. As a child, I hosted and attended many birthday parties there, as well as play dates with friends. I spent countless hours running down the grassy hills, feeding ducks at the pond, and tediously crossing the “rock bridge” (which we were not actually allowed to do, but we ignored the signs). In this video, you will see the ancient Live Oak tree that I consider a fundamental part of my childhood. I used to climb this tree with my friends and sit in the branches with them. We’d play pretend and other games, running underneath its canopy. 

While I frequented the grocery store a lot during high school, I never really had time to visit the park, so I enjoyed the nostalgia I felt walking through the area again. Luckily, I was able to film the tree when there weren’t a lot of people nearby. As I sat under this tree, I thought of my past here in Austin and listened to the sound of the helicopters flying overhead, landing on the nearby hospital. After a while, some kids approached and began climbing the tree, so I decided to get going. I heard them screaming and laughing as I walked away. 

 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

  

Nature in the City – Austin
Dec 11, 2020 - 02:04 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; October 23, 2020

 

Hello you. I heard you are interested in Leaf and Tree Identification! You are in the right place. 🙂

First, I want to share the resources I have used to identify my collection of leaves so you can later identify yours!  

Second, pick leaves you like and are interested in learning about! As you will see from some of my past and future posts, the leaves hold a special meaning to me — whether it be the first red leaf I had seen or a leaf with a gorgeous, shiny black color I was curious about. Also, keep track of the leaf's surroundings.

Some questions to ask yourself for better understanding your leaves are: 

  • What park were the leaves in? 

  • What kind of environment was around it? 

  • What season did you pick this leaf in? What was the weather like? 

  • Was the leaf damaged? Were there small ecosystems on or within the leaf? 

Remember: follow all Austin Public Health guidelines when in parks. Make sure to keep a 6-foot distance from others and wear a mask. A bottle of hand sanitizer won’t hurt either. 😊

Third, I strongly recommend having a journal or paper around to keep track of the characteristics of the leaf as you follow along on either of the website tools I listed above. This could also help you retain the information better.

Fourth, have fun with it! I decided to take a more artistic approach by doing leaf rubbings and labeling the characteristics on paper. Learning about nature can be fun! 

How to create a leaf rubbing: 

  1. Have a blank piece of paper, a crayon, a leaf, and a flat surface ready. 

  1. Place the leaf under the blank piece of paper 

  1. Using the side of your crayon (or pencil/colored pencil), rub it on the paper while holding the paper and leaf in place 

  1. After rubbing/coloring, you should have a beautiful traced leaf on the once blank paper! 

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Dec 09, 2020 - 03:52 pm CST

Written by Antonia; August 16, 2020

Jerusalem Thorn

(Parkinsonia aculeata)

 

This tree was on a trail I sometimes walked back in high school during my weekly Austin Youth River Watch meetings. We didn’t walk down this path very often, but the few times that we did, it was always a beautiful sight and I have pleasant memories of exploring the area with my friends. Had it been a normal year, I probably would have come out here with those friends to film this. But it isn’t a normal year and it has been a while since the last time I saw any of my friends in person. Instead, my parents gave me a ride and waited in the car and, while the resulting silence was nice, I couldn’t help but wish I had someone there to share the scenery with.

It was hot outside, despite my best efforts to get there early enough so that the cool temperatures from the night before still lingered in the air. Even though it was a bit uncomfortable, I still took a moment to stop and breathe. As I walked along the trail and looked out onto the familiar landscapes I had explored in my final year of high school, I was reminded that, while my life had completely changed in a matter of days, I could still relive my memories through nature. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return again with my friends someday soon.

 

Photo: Seeds and leaves of a Jerusalem Thorn    Photo: Flowers of a Jerusalem Thorn

 

Unfortunately, the leaves dried a bit before I was able to take a photo. The leaf on the far right shows how this trees’ leaves are pinnately compound, as the leaflets are on both sides of the petiole. The fruit of this tree, on the far left, is a legume with many seeds. This tree also produces yellow flowers, which I didn’t get a good picture of, so I’m providing a photo from the internet (credits at end of blog post).

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

Image Source: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/jerusalem-thorn.aspx

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Dec 04, 2020 - 04:00 pm CST

Banner: Stories Through Nature - a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council

Written by Evelyn; August 13, 2020

 

Photo: Tall tree with red leaves at the University of Pennsylvania campus.

 

 

 

 

2019 had been my year. A year full of traveling, fun, and friends. But it was also a year full of work, effort, and grit. As I was standing outside the University of Pennsylvania on October 15, 2019, I saw a thousand red leaves in awe and, somehow, this tree had signified all of my effort to get there. It was proudly standing there, and its beautiful red color made it shine and stand out from all others. The fall season signified its time to rest, to let time do its thing. It was time for me too. My college application process was coming to an end. I picked up a leaf and carefully put it inside my agenda. It was a tiny triumph moment for me — knowing that I got to Philadelphia! I had gotten so far, literally. This red leaf signified how far I had come. And I later came to know it would mark my home for the next four years.  

Can you guess what type of tree this leaf comes from? Here is the answer.  

 

 

 

 

Drawing: Leaf with 4 Lobes; Text describes the leaf as Red/Brown, Having a Downy Underside, and Having 1 Petiole    Photograph: Red Leaf with 4 Lobes

 


 

Stories Through Nature is a project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council. You can learn more about the program at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.

 

Nature in the City – Austin
Nov 30, 2020 - 02:25 pm CST

A banner that says "Stories Through Nature: A Project of the 2020 Youth Forest Council"

 

Hey fellow tree enthusiasts! 

Welcome to our Community Action Project (CAP). We are three interns working with the City of Austin’s Development Services Department. Through our one-year journey, we have expanded our knowledge of the urban forest, helped on projects benefiting the community, and come to appreciate the nature around us even more. 

 

What is an urban forest? 

The urban forest consists of trees that can be seen in and around the city. That tree on your school’s campus? Part of the urban forest. Those trees located in Mayfield Park and Laguna Gloria? Part of the urban forest, too!  

 

What is forest bathing? 

Inspired by the Japanese practice called shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is the act of being outdoors and using the ambiance of nature around you to improve mindfulness.  

 

What is leaf identification? 

Leaf identification consists of identifying leaves on a tree in order to identify the type of tree.  

 

About Stories Through Nature

These blog posts are set up to welcome you into the skills and interests we have developed from the internship. We will focus on leaf and tree identification, as well as forest bathing. Below is a more detailed introduction from each of us. You can also read more about us and our cohort at www.austintexas.gov/youthforest.
 

Edgar

The Youth Forest Council was my opportunity to learn about the green spaces in Austin and being able to appreciate the green spaces that are around the city. Nature is my go-to whenever I am feeling stressed or just looking for fun. Being able to learn about the efforts put into the urban forest gives me a deeper appreciation for the trees that surround me. This appreciation has been heightened during my move to Boston University, where I am studying Electrical Engineering. Even through this stressful time, being able to spend time outside and enjoying nature allows me to reset and focus better on the tasks at hand. 

 

Antonia

I applied to the Youth Forest Council in the hopes of learning more about careers that would allow me to focus on the environment. I’ve always appreciated nature and do my best to be involved in protecting it. I’m currently attending Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, and I’m planning on majoring in Biology. While it’s been a stressful year and my future is full of uncertainties, spending time in nature has served as a nice way to cope. This is my first time working on a project of this scale and, while I’m nervous, I hope that you are able to learn something new and appreciate nature with us. 

 

Evelyn

I was attracted to the Youth Forest Council because I wanted to give my part back to nature. After being in a nature-immersive mentorship program during middle school, I felt like it was my responsibility to further educate myself and my community about the environment in hopes to properly maintain and share it. Currently, I am studying Organizational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. While our learning has been online and remote, it allows for me to spend more time in Austin’s greenspaces. I hope you are able to learn more about the trees around you and you grow curious to their characteristics and what makes them and their leaves unique.  

Nature in the City – Austin