Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Towards Day 18 (Mon, Nov. 12): Exploring the Campus Botanically

rachelr's picture

I.               Coursekeeping

As this class will involve being outside and walking through the woods, please plan accordingly (layer and shoe-wise). Please also bring something that can function as a blindfold (bandana/scarf).

The coursenotes are not particularly long for today; in class we want to answer the call for more silence and bring a sense of ceremony and LaDuke’s call for cyclical thinking to our day.

Before Class Assignments:

Read this short article on the history and ecology of the Morris Woods.

Please look up some information about the following species on the internet to prepare for the Plant Meet and Greet Activity. Some specific aspects to look for include: origin, where they currently grow, image (what does it look like), and any medicinal/therapeutic/edible properties - (namely for Spice Bush and Yew). Also try to come up with a few answers on your own and fresh in your mind to the following question (Using Michael Pollan reading and internet sources) - What is a weed?

Spice Bush

By 5pm Thursday please post your site-sit and include some connection between what you saw/experienced in Morris Woods today and your site. Read and comment on at least one of your classmate’s postings.

II.             Today's Overview
The goal for today is to get to know what some people have described as being scary or unknown- nature! Together the three biology majors collected ideas together and created some activities to hopefully help everyone become more familiar with some plants in Morris Woods (and beyond!).

 Plant Meet and Greet
Srucara will take us on a tour of the woods to learn about some of the plants that live there.

We will be learning about the following plants:

Spice Bush
English Ivy
Weedy Buttercup

We would like to briefly discussing the reading and acquiring a basic understanding of the Morris Woods and the ecosystem it truly is. We will look for any peculiar evidence for “disturbance” as noted in the article and we will look for any distinct physical characteristics of one part of the woods vs. the other (namely East vs. West).

Its Like Christmas!
rachelr made us all tools to help us on a plant treasure hunt. The work you did in preparation for this class will help you with this activity.

Tree Knowledge
froggies315 will lead a partnered, trust activity.

III.           So What?
As is evident by power and unpredictability that we all experienced with Hurricane Sandy, nature is indeed a force to be reckoned with, and a healthy dose of respect is good.

From The Winona LaDuke Reader (Who Owns America? Minority Land and Community Security): “Akiing is the word for land in our language, and in the indigenous concept of land ownership or the Anishinaabeg concept of land ownership, it is much more a concept that we belong to that land than the land belongs to us.”

Hopefully today helped to give us another piece of the puzzle, the puzzle of what shapes us and how we find our place in nature.