Island Updates

Botany ISLE 2014

We had a fantastic 10 days with students who came from out to Hurricane from as far as New York City to learn about the wildflowers, trees, vines, and shrubs on Hurricane Island. The week started off by looking at Hurricane’s gardens and the difference between domestic and wild edible plants. Students learned about soil health and compost, how to manage a straw bale garden, and the difference between linear and sustainable farming and gardening practices. They also learned how crop rotation can keep plant pests at bay as well as contribute to the overall health of a garden.

 Students key into leaf characteristics to help identify the difference between quaking and big-tooth aspen trees.

Students key into leaf characteristics to help identify the difference between quaking and big-tooth aspen trees.

We also challenged students to plan out the meadow garden plot for next years garden. They did a fantastic job and adhered to crop rotation practices as well as suggested a few new plants that we should try to grow. Students took an afternoon to get their hands dirty in our gardens and helped turn over the adjacent plot to the meadow garden to expand it for next year. They also planted seedlings in new rows and put fresh compost in our flower garden. This focus of farming and gardening during the beginning of the Botany program led to a field trip to Turner Farm on North Haven Island, where they were able to explore and learn about what a large scale sustainable farm looks like.

After domestic plants we moved on to wild edibles and students learned to identify and forage for sorrel, cattails, beach peas, orach, elderberry flowers, and raspberries, which they concocted into a Hurricane sourced meal, which was also supplemented by the vegetables and herbs grown in our gardens.

Each morning featured a different category of plant and students learned all the vocabulary and identification techniques to properly key out the most common wild flowers, trees, and ferns on Hurricane.

As a fun final project students collaborated to create a botany themed rap song, which featured some of their favorite plants that they learned about over their ten-day stay.   

Register for our 2015 Botany ISLE program here! 

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