Henry David Thoreau would maintain that going to Fitchburg was more
important than getting to Fitchburg. He wrote, "Live each
season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste
the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each." He
believed that we should take advantage of every opportunity,
every moment, and that we should enjoy our journeys,
not just our destinations.
Along the way to Fitchburg, Henry hopped a river,
carved a stick, pressed flowers, climbed a tree, paddled on
the river, found a bird's nest, ate some honey, went for a swim,
and ate his way through a blackberry patch. His friend, on the
other hand, got to Fitchburg by working all day to earn the fare
for the train. Though they both reached the destination at about
the same time, who do your students think had the more enjoyable
Henry stops to pull ferns and flowers and presses them in a
book. Collect flowers with your class, then press them for cards
Flowers, ferns, and leaves
Old phone book
Bricks or heavy books
Cardstock paper or oak tag
Collect flowers that have small, flat blooms, such as impatiens,
pansies, or buttercups (include stems and leaves). Pick
small delicate leaves, such as ferns and clover. It is best not to
collect your flowers and leaves in the morning because they
will be covered with dew and take longer to dry.
Place the flower and leaf collection on two sheets of paper
towels, cover them with two more sheets, and then place them between the
pages of the phone book.
Set the phone book aside in a cool place and weigh it down
with bricks or other heavy books.
After about a week, replace the paper towels and repress
the flowers. Let another week pass. If the flowers are not dry,
replace the paper towels again. When the flowers are
completely dry, you and your students will be ready to make
cards and flower pictures.
Using the tweezers, carefully arrange the flowers, ferns, and
leaves on the oak tag. When you're satisfied with the placement,
remove the flowers one at a time and dab the back of
the flowers with the glue stick. Place the flowers back on the
card. When all of the flowers have been glued in place, cover
the picture with a piece of plastic wrap cut larger than the oak
tag. Wrap the extra plastic around the picture to protect it.
Place some of the heavy books onto the picture and wait
about thirty minutes for the glue to dry completely.
Make a display of the class's work.
Thoreau hiked thirty miles through the countryside to Fitchburg.
What would your students encounter on a thirty-mile hike from
your school? Using a road map and a compass, place your
school in the center and measure out a circle with a diameter
of thirty miles. What are some destinations that are about thirty
miles away? Pick one and plan out a route to get there. What
towns will your students pass through? What natural areas will
they cross? What points of interest will they encounter?