Many immigrants to the new world brought familiar plants accidentally
as stowaways or deliberately for their transplanted gardens. Now,
escaping cultivation and gone wild, some of these new plants are noxious
"weeds" and compete with native vegetation. To understand how these
species annually cause billions of dollars of damage, choke out native
species, and alter the natural landscape, students participate in
field studies. They look for and collect invasive plants, record observations,
and prepare to disseminate information about them to the community.
For more about this special from
Attention to our Earth!
DeBear Paye, author and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Gather scientific information through: observation and experimenting
in lab and field, questioning and interviewing, and library work.
Using the field guide Cultural
Uses of Plants, by Gabriell DeBear Paye, students:
- Go outside during a season when plants have leaves.
- Collect seeds and leaves of local invasive plants as well as
local native species.
- Save leaves and flowers for future pressing and preservation;
save seeds in plastic bags.
- Take cuttings of plants for experimenting with classroom germination
Back in the classroom, students identify and label all
specimens, and record their plant and field observations in notebooks.
They enter: location and condition of site; details of size, color,
density; dominant species in area; plant health; evidence of disease
or insect pestsí damage, etc.
Students press and laminate plant specimens for their education campaign
on identification and control of invasive plants.
Students research qualifications for a Plant Taxonomist, a scientist
who collects, names, identifies, and maintains plant collections.
Invasive Plants edited by John Randall and Janet Marinelli,
1996: Brooklyn Botanical Garden; other field guides; press or large
book for pressing and drying plants. Ziploc bags for seeds and cuttings,
scissors, materials for recording notes and labeling specimens.
Students research the Internet to find out about invasive plants and
Students receive grades on: accurate plant identification in the field;
labeling of plants; presentation of pressed leaves and flowers.
Look up information on invasive plants at: