If you live out West or are heading out West this summer, check out the Lodgepole pines.
A lot of the National Parks like Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain have acres and acres of lodgepoles. In fact, lodgepole pines cover 50 million acres in the West. The average tree is 70 feet high and is so named because Native Americans used the trees to support their lodges.
But lodgepoles aren’t just any trees. Their cones are sealed with resin and a woody tissue that’s sticky, not allowing the seeds to spread. Their seeds are serotinous, which means that they don’t open until something unique in the environment causes them to open. In the case of lodgepole pines, that occurrence is a forest fire.
We visited Yellowstone a year or so after devastating forest fires … and there was the new growth of lodgepole pines covering the hills. (I would suggest you look on Google images under “lodgepole pines after a forest fire.” Share the pictures with your kids so they can see how these trees reclaim a forest. I could not find a non-copyright picture to share.)
God’s creation is amazing. Forests burn. Many fires are caused by people, but others are started because of natural causes such as lightning. God knew there would be forest fires. He created the lodgepole pine, designed in such a way to replenish the land after it burns. Immediately after a fire, the seeds break open and before long, you can see the tiny saplings poke up through the burnt ground. Within a few years, the land is once again covered.
Talk to your kids about the wonders of God’s creation and how the lodgepole pine is an awesome example of what God has in place. If you live in or visit the West, show them a lodgepole pine and explain their specialized seeds.
Psalm 96:11-13a – Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.