Terrific, Tremendous Trees
Trees are a big deal in the Bible, and I can prove it. Ask a parent for permission to go online. Log on to www.biblegateway.com, and type the word “tree” in the search field. You’ll be amazed at how many times the Bible mentions trees. People hold important meetings under them, use them as landmarks, sit in their shade and talk with angels, and use them to make things like the Ark of the Covenant that held the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.
In the Garden of Eden, there was a special tree with a very long name. God called it “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” God told Adam and Eve not to eat this tree’s fruit. So what did they do? They ate the fruit. And that’s when everything went bad. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they brought sin and death into God’s perfect world.
But another tree changed all that. One day Jesus was crucified on a cross made from a tree. His death made up for all the sin in the world, and the sin in you and me. So the next time you look at a tree, remember what Adam and Eve did, and what Jesus did for you.
Breathe on a Tree
Take a reeeeally deep breath. When you do that, your lungs pull in oxygen from the air. Now let that breath out. You’ve just breathed carbon dioxide out into the air. Our bodies need oxygen to live, but cabon dioxide can hurt us.Trees “breathe” just the opposite of people. Helped by sunlight, the leaves of trees take in carbon dioxide and mix it with water. That makes a kind of sugar, which is the tree’s food. It also makes oxygen, which the tree doesn’t need. The leaves release the oxygen back into the air. So next time you go outside, breathe on a tree. It’ll thank you by making oxygen for you!
There’s a Tree in My Toothpaste!
More than 5,000 different things are made from trees or tree products like sap, sawdust, or wood pulp. Here’s a list of some of the weirder things that have tree products in them:
- Chewing gum
- Hair spray and cosmetics
- Football helmets and hardhats
- Rayon clothing
- Shoe polish
- Rubber tires
- Golf balls
To see a really long list of things made from trees, go to www.forestinfo.org/Discover/fromtree.htm. How many of these things can you find in your home?
How old is the world’s oldest tree? One hundred years? A thousand years? Nope—not even close! The oldest known tree in the world is a bristlecone pine tree, and it’s (are you ready for this?) about 4,839 years old. People call this amazing tree Methuselah, after the oldest person in the Bible (even though the real Methuselah is said to have lived only 969 years). The Methuselah tree lives in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California. People think it’s the oldest living thing on earth. It’s as old as the great pyramids in Egypt. It was about 2,832 years old when Jesus was born! If you visit the Methuselah tree’s forest, you won’t find a sign marking exactly which tree it is. Park rangers are afraid someone might damage it or cut it down, so they keep its exact location a secret.
Mexican Monster Tree
OK, so you’ve met the oldest tree. The Methuselah tree is ancient, but it’s not very big. Now meet a real heavyweight. The tree with the fattest trunk is called “El Árbol del Tule” (that’s Spanish for “the Tree of Tule”). It grows in the yard of a church in Santa Maria del Tule, Mexico. Here’s why it’s famous:
- If you wanted to tie a rope around this tree’s trunk, you’d need one that was 117 feet (or almost 36 meters) long!
- If you cut a slice out of the trunk, that slice would measure about 37 feet across (11.10 meters). That means that nine 4-foot-tall kids could lie down end-to-end on the slice of trunk.
- The tree’s trunk contains lots of gnarly shapes. Its twisty bark sometimes looks like elephants, jaguars, faces, and even monsters!