The Leaf Project

In our local high school, every freshman science class is given a legendary, huge project every fall: The 50 Leaf Project. The students are given a list of 50 types of trees in our region and then they each have to (a) find the trees, (b) gather a leaf from and do a write-up for each one (and take pictures for extra credit) and (c) assemble it all into a portfolio at the end of the eight weeks, when they (d) are tested on identifying all of them. It's a high school rite of passage.

Okay, I can see how it's a great project. Fantastic for the kids to learn to identify so many trees. Wonderful experience to learn how to manage your time with a big project. Fabulous excuse to get out in the beautiful New England autumn scenery.  For example, this last Saturday, I drove Maddy and two friends to the Arnold Arboretum (where they filled Maddy's camera with relevant and less relevant photos):



And yet.  Truly, it's every freshman family's evil fall nemesis. It takes a lot of weekend searching to find all 50 trees, some of them quite rare.  Maddy's done a great job of incrementally gathering and recording but she's still haunted by 10 remaining leaves.

10 leaves. By Monday.

I want my 10 leaves.  Remember Better Off Dead and the two dollars? That's how we are all feeling about those 10 leaves right about now. You're on notice, eastern hophornbeam, norway pine, and honey locust.

Anyone else have huge "family homework" projects?