By Susan Wilderman, Faculty
As the days lengthen and the sun increases in strength, the land around us transitions from its winter rest to new life. Ten students under the leadership of Susan Wilderman took part in a botany course. The students increased in skills necessary for learning to identify common plants, trees, shrubs, and ferns of our area.
This course provides students with an opportunity to learn in an outdoor setting. Most classes involve going to a variety of areas to see the different plant communities within Candia. Through the use of biological keys and astute observation students grew in their abilities to accurately identify the flora of our area. This transition from guided to independent identification is best seen in their plant collection projects. As the number of flowering plants increased students learned herbarium skills associated with collecting, pressing, and mounting samples. Their collections are assessed on accuracy and quality of work. This encourages students to attend to details and put their best effort forward in using their new identification skills.
When asked, students commented that they enjoyed the quiet peacefulness of our outdoor classroom experiences. They all appreciated their new found knowledge of creation and commented on the sense of satisfaction of walking outside and recognizing the plants around them.
To the original question, Why study botany? In a world which is moving so fast and with so many distractions, sometimes you just have to slow down and notice the small beautiful things around. My hope is this will lead them to be better stewards of creation.