Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Circle of Trees: A Multigenerational Program about Nourishing Deep Connections with Nature

Activity 4: Helping Tree Metaphors

Part of Circle of Trees

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 1, Helping Tree Metaphors
  • Selection of objects (or pictures of objects) listed on Leader Resource 1, four or five of each
  • Four or five small bags or baskets

Preparation for Activity

  • Plan how you will form four or five small groups. Each small group should have no fewer than three and no more than six people. (If your whole group is too small to do this, plan to work together in one, large group, and prepare materials accordingly.)
  • Prepare a bag or basket containing four or five objects for each small group. (Every group should consider the same objects.)
  • Obtain an object-not one of the objects in the bags or baskets-that you can use to demonstrate how an object can be a metaphor for a benefit of trees.

Description of Activity

Help participants form small groups according to your plan, letting them know that each group should have three to six people.

Ask if anyone knows what a metaphor is. Allow participants to share some definitions. Say, in these words or your own:

A metaphor is an object or that is used to represent another object or idea that may have similar qualities.

Tell them they will look at physical objects that are metaphors for the benefits that trees provide to the world. They will choose their particular metaphors in their small groups and then share them with the larger group.

Show the object you chose. Say, in these words or your own:

Think of all the wonderful benefits that trees and forests bring to the planet, to humans, and to wildlife. Take a look at this object and think about what it might represent in terms of something that trees provide to humans, wildlife, or the planet.

Take ideas from the group. Then tell them your intended metaphor for the object. Be sure to let them know that other ideas for connections can be just as valid as the metaphor you intended.

Give each group a bag or basket of objects and tell them that they have about 10 minutes to discuss the objects inside. Ask them to consider one object at a time and be sure to make space for everyone's ideas.

Bring the whole group back together. Ask a representative of each small group to briefly describe the metaphor they came up with for one of the objects, with each group presenting a different object. Be ready to ask groups about their discussions if a representative says the group did not think of a metaphor.

If time allows, encourage participants to think of benefits of trees that are not represented by any of the metaphor objects.