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A Walk in the Redwoods

Skyline Earth Team takes a hike at Joaquin Miller Park and learns how to estimate tree height without using any equipment at all!

Skyline Earth Team stepped out of the classroom to enjoy an afternoon learning about the giant redwoods at Joaquin Miller Park. While only a short drive from Skyline High School, some of our interns had never walked through this park before! The park, named after the American poet, is home to over 200 native plant species, including the Coast Redwoods. Joaquin Miller planted many of the trees himself.

A Skyline intern admiring the heights of the Coast Redwoods.

The interns began the hike on the dusty Sequoia Bayview trail. After a brief incline, the interns stepped into an opening surrounded by Coast Redwoods. Here, they learned that these redwood trees are the tallest trees on Earth, growing over 300 feet high! The Skyline Earth Team reflected on where they’ve seen these trees before, comparing them to the Giant Sequoias growing in the Sierra Mountain range. Most importantly, the interns discussed the significance of Coast Redwoods in fighting climate change – they learned that these trees capture more CO2 than any other tree on the planet.

Skyline Earth Team interns estimating tree heights.

The interns stopped halfway through the hike to estimate how tall some of the redwood trees were. Instead of using scientific tools or fancy equipment, the interns were challenged to measure the heights using only themselves! The interns worked in groups – one intern stood next to a tree and another stood farther away. They estimated how many of their fellow interns would need to stand on top of each other to reach the top of the tree. They could then calculate the height of the tree by multiplying this number by the intern’s height.

Skyline Earth Team after a 1.7 mile hike at Joaquin Miller Park

The hike ended along the Big Trees trail. As we meandered our way back to the trailhead, the interns paused to listen to the sounds of the redwoods. Here, they noticed subtle differences that often go unnoticed when the time is not taken to stop and listen: footsteps on dirt trails sound so different to those taken on the concrete ground of Skyline High School. All in all, the Skyline Earth Team enjoyed a day away from campus, learning about the great trees that live just down the street. They can’t wait to get out and explore again soon!

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