Pick a Wildflower (FBCEC)

Summary:

Arkansas’ spring, summer and fall landscapes are filled with wildflowers. Participants will examine native Ozark plants and study a specific wildflower. They will record their observations, research the plant in a field guide and share what they discover with the others. (Note: With additional time, make flower presses.)

Grade Level:

K - 8

Recommended Setting:

Outdoor classroom

Outdoor Activity:

No

Location:

Fred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville, AR

Contact:

Education Program Coordinator, 870-449-3484

Duration:

45 minutes - 1 hour

Suggested Number of Participants:

Up to 24

Special Conditions:

Weather permitting.

Objectives:

  • Develop investigation skills by describing a native plant.
  • Organize and share information about the native plant.

Key Terms*:

Field guide

Flower

Native plant

Weed

*See glossary for definations

Materials:

Clipboards

Paper

Pencils, pens, markers or crayons

Background:

Arkansas has wildflowers from spectacular to uninteresting.  There are even a few that are threatened or endangered. Many are considered “weeds” and are not recognized as wildflowers. 

 

 

Procedure:

  1. Ask participants to describe the difference between a weed and a flower. Give examples of native flowers (actual or photos, depending on availability) and mention that just because a plant is wild does not mean it is not beautiful. Many wild plants considered weeds by some actually produce lovely flowers. Explain that each person will choose a native plant to adopt. With younger participants, have the group adopt a native plant.
  2. Provide each participant with paper, clipboard, pencil and crayon or marker and explain that they should use it to record observations and answer questions about their plant. Take them outside so they can explore the native plants growing in one of the gardens or trails.
  3. Give each the lesson copy sheet and instruct them to choose a particular wild plant to adopt. Participants are to answer the questions from the sheet and record their observations. Give each one a field guide to look up their plant and record interesting information, including possible uses for their plant.
  4. After observing and writing about their native plants, have the group come together and share.

Modifications:

Participants can make flower presses and press a flower found in the area. Be sure to discuss ethical collecting practices. (Never collect potentially rare flowers. If unsure, do not pick it. Take only one flower, not many. Don’t uproot the plant.)Materials per press:
  • Two thin boards cut to approximately 4 x 6 inches
  • Several sheets (4 x 6) of corrugated cardboard used as dividers
  • Several sheets (4 x 6) of newspaper used as blotters
  • Four heavy-duty rubber bands to hold it together
  • Assorted decorative materials for personalizing the press

Review:

  • Compare a weed and a flower.
  • Relate at least four traits of the wild plant each one adopted.

Resources:

  • Kurz, Don (1999). Ozark Wildflowers, Morris Book Publishing.
  • Hemmerly, Thomas E. (2002). Ozark Wildflowers, The University of Georgia Press.
  • Hunter, Carl G. (1984). Wildflowers of Arkansas, Ozark Society Foundation.

Participant Worksheets:

Pick A Wildflower

Glossary:

Field Guide – an illustrated manual sized for carrying which identifies natural objects, flora and fauna

 

Flower – the reproductive structure of some seed-bearing plants containing the reproductive organs

 

Native plant – a plant belonging to a particular area

 

Weed – a plant of no value that tends to choke out more desirable plants