When we think about ‘history’ we don’t always think about the forests. Yet, here in North Vancouver, there are histories hidden across the myriad of trails that surround us. Recently, I’ve been exploring this history with my children (aged 4 and 9) and taking advantage of local trails to inspire my work and their learning.
Last month, we explored the trails of Capilano Regional Park in search of evidence of early logging in the area. As a follow-up to that day of learning, we created a fun experiment to show the importance of trees. Most kids know that trees help fight climate change but do they know that they are really important in preventing erosion?
The canyons in the North Shore are being eroded by rain water, coming from down from the mountains, and sometimes with disastrous results. Trees prevent erosion by keeping soil from being washed away.
With this in mind, we designed a simple experiment that demonstrates this quite easily for children. Here are the steps:
- Take 3 identical sized plant pots (with small holes in the bottom).
- Fill the first pot with a small conifer, this is a little Californian Lawson Cypress and was in the pot when I bought it.
- Fill second pot with pebbles and soil (about 80% pebbles).
- Fill third pot with just soil.
- Place all pots on top of identical glasses.
- ‘Make it rain’ by pouring a large glass of water in each of them and waiting till it drains through.
As you can see from the images, the pot with the tree in it has fairly clear water running out of it, because the tree has held the soil together with its roots.
The pebble pot runs fairly muddy but the worst of the three is the pot with just soil in it. As you can see from the images the water is really muddy because the ‘rain’ has washed so much of the soil away.
This content and experiments will form part of our Eureka Effect Shows which we are developing for the opening of our new museum this year. The Eureka Effect shows are fun, interactive shows that will reveal the history of the North Shore through experiments, science and lots of audience participation.
If you are interested in finding out more about logging history on the North Shore check out our online resource.
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We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.