Alder trees are one of the first plants to grow in places that have been damaged by landslides, fires, and other environmental disasters. They rebuild the soil and create a forest home where plants and animals can thrive. Alder is a common tree growing up to 100 feet tall along waterways and in wet forests. Seedlings grow as much as three feet per year and form groves. Young trees have smooth, silvery-brown bark while older bark is often spotted with white lichen, moss, and dark patches. The inner bark and wood turn a brilliant reddish-orange when cut.
Alder | q'ʷax̌sa·bap Building Community
The bark is best harvested in spring or fall, but still contains medicine the rest of the year. Look for a branch that has recently fallen down, or cut a small branch and strip the bark. If you are harvesting thick bark from the trunk or larger branches, separate the medicinal red innner bark from the tough outter bark, as the inner bark has the strongest medicine. You can chew, make tea with fresh bark or dry it for later medicinal use. Tribes who use alder tea medicine include: Swinomish, Cowlitz, Quileute, and the Klallam.
Alder bark makes a beautiful orange to red dye. It is harvested in spring to summer at the warmest time of day when the sun is directly on the tree. Alder wood is used in woodworking to make many things including utensils, carvings, and furniture. The wood burns well and is prized for smoking salmon as well as other meats. It burns clean and is non-crackling.
What do you think makes a strong community?
It is a group of people with shared interests and values. It can be a physical location, or it can be virtual. It can be large or small. shared interests: Interests that members of a group have in common. shared values: Values that members of a group share and agree upon. community: A group of people with shared interests and values.
What is Community?
The average person belongs to 3 different communities. Communities exist beyond people. Communities can be other living beings and how they are in relationship with each other or how we are in relationship with them. "Alder demostrates how to build a healthy community through collaborating with other species and creating a place where many plants and animals can thrive (p. 7)."
Work together in pairs: What are the interests and values of your community?
Work together in pairs: What do you think are the benefits of being an active member in your community?
Work together in pairs: How can I contribute to the health of my community?
Work together in pairs: What did you learn about the importance of community today?
Brain break: Draw a seagull on an alder log doing the hu hu su
Respect your Alders -Paco