Nut Trees – Teens
Tree nuts are packed with nutrition and are excellent sources of vitamins, healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals. Nuts even support brain function, which means they may help increase your performance in school!
Activity 1 - Nut Trees In Your Area
Research five different type of nut trees that grow in your region. For each nut tree, write an informational paragraph about it. For instance, what does it look like (e.g., the bark, the leaves)? What kind of nuts does it produce and what do they look like? What creatures eat the nuts it produces?
Next, go for a walk in your neighbourhood and see if you can identify any of the nut trees about which you are now an expert!
Activity 2 - Rating the Sustainability of Nuts
Although all nuts are delicious and nutritious, some have a larger impact on the environment. For instance, did you know it takes 18.5 litres (4.9 gallons) of water to grow just one walnut? And although cashews originated in the Amazon, the majority are now produced in Vietnam, where workers earn low wages and many suffer permanent health damage from the toxic liquid the shells release. In this activity you will research the impact of the different nuts below and rate them from most sustainable to least sustainable with supporting evidence.
- Brazil Nuts
- Macademia Nuts
- Acorns (Yes – we can actually eat acorns once they’ve turned brown! They take some preparation, as the shelled nuts need to be soaked first to remove the bitter and toxic tannins.)
Activity 3 - Make Brazil Nut Milk or Brazil Nut Butter
Brazil nut milk
You will need:
- nut milk bag,
- 1 cup of Brazil nuts,
- 2 cups of water,
- 1 vanilla bean (optional),
- and a pinch of sea salt (optional)
Step 1: Soak the brazil nuts for 8 hours in a large covered bowl of water (you may simply place a towel over the bowl to cover it). If you are using vanilla bean, add it to the nuts to soak as well.
Step 2: Get rid of the soaking water and rinse the Brazil nuts and vanilla bean.
Step 3: Blend the Brazil nuts, vanilla bean, sea salt, and 2 cups of water in a high-powered blender.
Step 4: Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag; be sure to squeeze out the access liquid (you can keep the leftover nut pulp to add to smoothies).
Step 5: Serve and enjoy!
Brazil nut butter
You will need:
- a high-powered blender
- 1 cup of Brazil nuts
- ½ tbsp of sweetener (optional-agave or coconut nectar)
- ¼ tsp of sea salt
- 1 glass jar
Step 1: Add all ingredients to high-powered blender
Step 2: Blend well on high-speed for 5-10 minutes, or until mixture is creamy
Step 3: Pour into a glass jar and enjoy!
Activity 4 - Nut Tree Physical Activity
On ten cards, write down the following:
Card 1: Brazil Nut Tree = 5 push ups
Card 2: Chestnut Tree = 7 jumping squats
Card 3: Pine Nut Tree = 10 sit ups
Card 4: Walnut Tree = 6 mountain climbers
Card 5: Almond Tree = 10 burpees
Card 6: Cashew Tree= 10 lunges
Card 7: Hickory Nut Tree = 30 second wall sit
Card 8: Macadamia Nut Tree = 30 second plank
Card 9: Pecan Tree= 20 jumping jacks
Card10: Pistachio Tree = 10 high knees
Shuffle your cards and lay them face down. Pick a card and do the exercise on the card. Once you have finished that exercise shuffle the cards and place them face down again. Keep going until you feel you have done a good workout for the day!
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BECOME AN EARTH PROTECTOR!
1) Make sure your household and school are buying environmentally friendly toilet paper. Did you know that most of the large toilet paper companies refuse to use recycled or alternative fiber when making their toilet paper? Instead they continue to source from beautiful forests which destroys the habitat for many species.
2) Plant a nut tree! Research the best type of nut tree to plant in your region. Ask a local nursery or tree care company if they would be willing to donate a small nut tree for you to plant in your neighbourhood. Ask permission to plant your nut tree at your school or local park. Remember you’ll have to weed and water your tree until it’s established.