breath

The past few weeks have given a few lessons on breath –

CPR Certification – ( i.e. giving breath to others)

IMG_0079My “Introductory to Forestry” class offered a CPR certification course.  I have wanted to become CPR certified for a while, but had been disinclined to pony up the money since most courses are rather pricy.  This was offered to us at an incredibly reasonable price and during our class lab, so I was thrilled to take advantage of it.  We learned how to determine if someone is in need of CPR, how to administer CPR appropriate, how to apply basic first aid, and proper reaction and engagement in emergency medical situations.  And at the end, we were each CPR certified.

Kings River Greenbelt Park – (i.e. seeing a breath of the past) 

My Dendrology class took a trip to the Kings River Greenbelt to examine and identify plant species in a riparian zone.  While we tramped through brush, tall grasses (mostly the invasive kind), under trees, and waded a shallow creek (boots dried out in the sun later), our teacher stopped us at one point to discuss a particular vista point.  He said that this was how the Valley looked in its natural state, before urbanization and agriculturalization.  It made me both wonder-struck and sad at the same time.  Because the wildness that was there was so beautiful that it seems tragic that so little of it remains. (More on this topic in a post  to come.)

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Pine Cones – (i.e. breath of new life to come)

My Dendrology class also recently had a pine cone lab in which we were taught about the anatomy and variety of pine cones and pine cone parts.  I was, as with our lab on leaves, filled with a childlike excitement to realize how much richness in difference there is among pine cones, and how cleverly and artistically designed each is.  I had little notion of how many types there are.  I’ll keep this bit on cones short…as I suspect I might elaborate longer on my interest in them in the future.

The shape, symmetry, peduncle shape, type of umbo, scale, width, weight, and color of the cone will help you identify the tree species.  For you fellow plant nerds out there, here are a few cone terms:

  • apophysis – the part of a cone scale that is exposed when it is closed
  • scale – part of a conifer cone that bears seeds
  • umbo – a protuberance, as on the apophysis of a cone scale
  • terminal umbo – umbo at the end of a scale
  • dorsal umbo – umbo on top of scale pointing towards outwards
  • peduncle – part of the cone that attaches to the branch

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