peesiaanikopa (Shagbark Hickory)

June 25, 2010

peesiaanikopa (Shagbark Hickory)
Scott Swaidner

What follows are recordings of student observations from kišiinkwia kiilhswa (July/August 2009) to cecaahkwa kiilhswa (April/May 2010).  Each student was asked to observe one feature (plant, tree, animal, celestial body, or weather phenomena) and its connections to other features.  In addition each student was asked to visually represent these connections by constructing a visual web.

niipinwi neehi teekwaaki (Summer and Fall)

Peesiaanikopa (shagbark hickory) has many connections with other things in the environment.  A couple of the main connections I have seen deal with a couple of different animals.  I have noticed that aanteekwa (crow) seems to like to sit on the branches of peesiaanikopa and squawk.  The branches of peesiaanikopa provide aanteekwa with a high enough vantage point to possibly communicate and find other aanteekwa.  Another animal that I have noticed connecting with peesiaanikopa is anikwa (squirrel).  Anikwa really seemed to like the nuts that peesiaanikopa provided.  Around peesiaanikopa, I always saw shells of the nuts left by anikwa.  This leads me to another connection that I feel exists.

Peesiaanikopa nuts look a lot like the nuts of aayoonseekaahkwi (black walnut).  I first noticed this when we collected nuts during class.  Both nuts have a green outer shell with only slight differences.  Peesiaanikopa also connects with a couple of other things, including kiilhswa and rainstorms.  The certain season greatly effects peesiaanikopa through the amount of rain and sunlight it receives.  Since fall has progressed into winter, the leaves of peesiaanikopa have started falling off.  This connects with killhswa because as the leaves have started falling, the amount of sunlight has gone down.  Also, as we move into winter, the rain we receive turns to snow.  This doesn’t give peesiaanikopa the rain it needs to grow new leaves until the next spring.  When the season turns to spring, the amount of sunlight and rain will increase, helping the tree to thrive once again.

So far, I have learned that almost everything apart of the environmental relies on each other in order to survive.  Without the hickory trees and other trees alike, animals such as the squirrel would have a hard time protecting themselves from predators.  These trees also provide a huge part of the squirrels’ nutrition.  It is also necessary for the trees to have sunlight and water provided by thunderstorms and the sun.

Circle representing the connections Scott observed in 2009

Click here to see the complete web created by all the students as well as the translations for all of the words on the circle.

pipoonwi neehi miloohkami (Winter and Spring)

I’ve noticed over spring, and back to the beginning of winter, that peesiaanikopa never really lost all of its leaves.  Even though most of the leaves did fall, some of the leaves did in fact stay on even though they were obviously dead.  I’ve seen some other peesiaanikopas around the area and have noticed that they have actually lost all of their leaves.  So I’m thinking that not all the leaves falling off of this certain tree isn’t something that happens for all peesiaanikopa.  Perhaps this is due to the certain tree’s location.  The tree is next to a pretty tall building which may prevent wind and other elements from knocking the leaves down.

For about a month now or so, I’ve noticed these little white flowers under the peesiaanikopa I’ve been looking at.  The flowers circle around the tree and go out about as far as the branches do.  I’ve also noticed that these white flowers are also under other trees that are in the area; not all of which are peesiaanikopa.  I’m thinking that the branches provide enough shade for the white flowers which allows them to grow underneath the tree and nowhere else.  Another possibility is that these flowers somehow need the root system of the tree below.  This would show how one living organism (peesiaanikopa) can aid the life of another organism (little white flowers).

One more thing I’ve noticed about peesiaanikopa is that the tree seems to be a little slower budding than others.  The tree has buds, but they are smaller and less noticeable.  While other trees in the area are full of leaves, this certain peesiaanikopa has no leaves.

Observing peesiaanikopa this year, I have noticed that it shares connections with a variety of different ecological features.  A couple of the most important that I have noted are kiilhswa and teekwahkahki.  Both of these greatly relate to peesiaanikopa because peesiaanikopa could not survive and change without these ecological features.  In the fall, I noticed that as kiilhswa was slowly going away for the year that peesiaanikopa was changing as well.  The leaves turned different shades of colors, it was dropping its nuts, and eventually the leaves all left the tree.  It was also around this time that teekwahkahki had an effect on peesiaanikopa.  After teekwahkahki, peesiaanikopa stood in a dormant state until the next springtime when leaves started once again returning to the trees due to the return of kiilhswa.  This shows how kiilhswa and teekwahkahki can connect and have an impact on not only peesiaanikopa, but also on other trees and living things.

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