Garden in the Woods is a fascinating botanic garden, offering learning experiences on many levels for children. Native plants are the foundation for the web of life.
Tour Description and Goals
The tour follows trails into the natural woodlands of our 45-acre botanic garden. Our goal is to immerse children in a natural setting, teach some simple ecological concepts, and help to foster a sense of caring and stewardship for the environment.
We require one adult chaperone for every five children. Fees are $5 per child (minimum group fee $30), no charge for chaperones - effective 11/2010.
Plants support all life on the Planet
Through the process of photosynthesis (“making from light”), plants produce food (their leaves are “sugar factories”) for all other living things. As a waste, they release oxygen which animals need to breathe. Review the parts of plants and their functions with the students.
- Leaves - collect sunlight and use the energy to make food (sugar or glucose).
- Stems (branches, trunks) - conduct water up to leaves, conduct food downwards and support the plant, hold leaves up to catch the most sunlight, sometimes stores food.
- Roots - anchor the plant in the soil through tiny root hairs, collect water and nutrients needed for photosynthesis and store food (sap is stored by tree roots over the winter and rises in the spring).
All living things need a home or a habitat. Each organism is adapted for a special kind of habitat depending on its needs. We will look at micro-habitats found under a rotting log, as well as larger habitats such as the woodlands, bogs, and vernal pools.
Plants have evolved special structures to help them fit their environments. (Example, hemlock branches are flexible to allow snow to slide off, cactus plants store water in their fleshy stems and lack leaves which would lose too much water in their harsh environment.)
Following a disturbance such as a fire or a forest clearing, certain plants move in first as “pioneers” and pave the way for a series of other plants to follow. Pine trees require light to grow well and often when a forest is cut, they are the first trees to move in, until they create too much shade for their own seedlings to grow. More shade tolerant plants will follow.
Lichens are true pioneers since they can grow on bare rock and help create soil by
producing acids which weather the rock. Ferns and mosses will follow.
Our New England Garden of Rare and Endangered Species highlights the importance of plants, how they become endangered, why we care and what we can do to save the species. Approximately 1/4 of New England's plant species are considered endangered.
To schedule a children's tour, contact Bonnie Drexler, 508-877-7630, ext. 3302, or email email@example.com.