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Summer School: How To Climb A Tree
Jane Lindholm
Ten-year-old Jack Kiedaisch has been climbing trees since he was just a year old. Over the years, he's developed a good sense of what makes a good climbing tree.

You don't have to be an adult to be an expert in something. In fact, sometimes kids are the best teachers, especially when it comes to skills that require adults to use muscles they may not have tried flexing in a couple of decades. In this Summer School lesson, we learn how to climb a tree from Hinesburg 10-year-old Jack Kiedaisch.

Kiedaisch says the first step is to find the right kind of tree.

"I look for a tree with spaced out branches and thick ones. And tall trees. It doesn't matter what kinds of leaves it has," he says.

Once he's picked a tree, Kiedaisch takes a minute to plan his route before reaching up to grab a branch. 

Once he's climbing, he's careful to make sure that he's always holding on with at least one hand and one foot. He can't remember ever falling out of a tree, and says he's comfortable going 30 or 40 feet high.

Coming down is often the hardest part of the climb, especially for people who are a little scared of heights.

"It's more scary to climb down because you're always looking down," he points out. "Usually people don't like looking down."

Kiedaisch says he first started climbing out of his crib at nine months old, before he could even walk. And when he was one, he started climbing trees. So he's had a lot of experience already. He estimates he's climbed hundreds of trees over the course of his lifetime.

It's a relaxing hobby, Kiedaisch says. And when he's at the top of the tree, feeling the breeze and the warmth of the sun on his face, and watching the birds and the inchworms, it makes him happy.

And he encourages adults to give it a try.

"I'd just start out with the most simplest tree you can find with spaced out branches and thick ones, and then brace yourself," he advises the tree-averse. "What I mean by brace yourself is that you don't have to go too high, but you can if you want. I think adults can climb trees. All humans can climb trees if they want to."

Broadcast on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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