waawiipinkwaahkatwi (White Oak)
What follows are recordings of student observations from kišiinkwia kiilhswa (July/August 2009) to cecaahkwa kiilhswa (April/May 2010). Each student was asked to observe one feature (plant, tree, animal, celestial body, or weather phenomena) and its connections to other features. In addition each student was asked to visually represent these connections by constructing a visual web.
niipinwi neehi teekwaaki (Summer and Fall)
My ecological feature is the White Oak. Throughout the semester, I have seen all of the leaves thin out, change color, and fall off the tree. At the beginning of the semester, the white oak was very thick and full of leaves. I noticed very little change as I took pictures over the weeks, and I also noticed that my tree was one of the last to start losing its leaves. I saw that most trees were almost done losing its leaves by the time my white oak even started to. But when it started to lose its leaves, it happened fast. I remember taking a picture of the white oak when it had first started to lose its leaves, and then the following week when i went back to take a picture almost all of the leaves were gone. The tree is bare of leaves now. The connections I have made to the other ecological features are as follows:
Burr Oak–Both are oak trees, and I remember talking about their similarities during class.
Crow–As a tree, I believe the white oak would serve as a resting place for crows that are flying.
Thunderstorms–The rain from the storm helps the white oak grow. Also, animals may take shelter under the white oak during a storm. Also, lightening from the storms can strike down and hit the white oak.
Deer–Deer may eat the leaves off of the lower branches of the white oak, and as I said before they may hide under the tree during storms. I remember seeing two of them rubbing up against the trunk of the tree one night in mid November.
Sun–The sun heats up the white oak and helps it grow, as it does for every other plant.
Frost–The frost can help determine when the leaves fall of the white oak. The frost did not have an effect on my white oak like it did on other trees. The white oak was one of the last trees to lose its leaves even through the frost. It also has an affect on the animal food supply, which may come from the white oak.
Click here to see the complete web created by all the students as well as the translations for all of the words on the circle.
pipoonwi neehi miloohkami (Winter and Spring)
I have seen very little change in the white oak tree, until very recently. When I got back to school for the start of this semester, the white oak looked just as it did when I left for winter break. It had no leaves or nuts/acorns; it looked completely bare. As I took photos over the next 2-3 months, I consistently saw almost no change whatsoever. About 3 weeks ago (middle of aanteekwa kiilhswa/end of March), however, I started to see some vegetation growing on the end of the branches. When I took my most recent photo (end of aanteekwa kiilhswa/middle of April), almost all of the branches had leaves/some sort of vegetation on them. I still have not seen any nuts yet.
I would say the 3 biggest connections to the white oak are the sun, the deer, and the frost. Obviously, the sun is probably the biggest connection to the white oak, and probably to everything else. The sun is the energy that allows the white oak to grow, and allows the whole world to grow. Without the sun, the white oak would not be allowed to flourish. The deer also have a vital connection to the white oak. They use the white oak for food, eating the leaves, branches, and possibly the nuts that fall off of the tree. Also, the deer help fertilize the ground, therefore helping grow the white oak. Frost has a very big connection with the white oak. As the weather gets colder, the white oak starts to lose all of its leaves and eventually goes bare over the winter. As long as it is frosting, the white oak will take a long time to grow its leaves and nuts. This makes it hard to feed the animals that use the white oak for food.