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Anonymous 06-16-2004 01:04 PM

Educational activities in Marin Chapter
From: Wendy Dreskin
Date: 02/12/00
Time: 05:00 PM

The Marin Chapter offers classes for students pre-school through third grade. One of the most successful programs we've started is the Junior Botanist Program. When it began 2 years ago we had 14 Junior Botanists and last year there were about 50! This year for the first time a number of teachers are doing the program on their own, not just my students in the CNPS classes, so I expect close to 100! To become a Junior Botanist in grades K-5 students must pass a test in 4 areas, identifying an increasing number of trees, ferns, flowers, and grasses. Grades 6-8 have some additional requirements. Students receive a certificate from the Chapter (often presented by the principal at an end of year ceremony), are listed on the Web page (a big deal for today's kids), and are written up in the local newspaper. Kids, teachers and parents are all enthusiastic! For more info see the Marin web page and click on Education. The "study kits" for the test are there, although they are not intended to be used in place of seeing, smelling and touching the real thing! I'm happy to answer any questions anyone has about the program.

Anonymous 06-16-2004 01:04 PM

From: Mary Shaw, CNPS Jepson Chapter (Solano County)
Date: 02/12/00
Time: 07:39 PM

Hi Wendy, Carol Witham pointed out your Junior Botanist web page to me and I thinks it's great. How did you introduce it into the schools? Teachers are so jammed for time these days many of them are not willing to take on new activities. Did you format it a certain way? Did you go through the school district or just do it school by school? Also, are you a botanist? Would you mind if we tried to duplicate your program here in Solano County? You can email me at AOL thinks your email address is invalid. Carol has said the email link on your web site works. I'll contact you that way. AOL just likes to run everyone's life. All the best, Mary Shaw

Anonymous 06-16-2004 01:06 PM

From: Wendy 70762.3212
Date: 02/29/00
Time: 06:19 PM


If the compuserve address doesn't work you can use

It would be great if you copy the program in Solano!

No, I'm not a botanist, just self taught and taught by 20 years of going out on CNPS walks with people who know more than I do.

The Junior Botanist program started in my own classes since I teach after school nature enrichment classes at five schools. I also do class field trips during school hours. The second year one of the teachers I've done walks for wanted to do the program. The was the first time a classroom teacher took it on.

The newspaper article in the local paper about the kids who were Junior Botanists sparked at lot of calls from teachers. I went in to classrooms and did a free 45 minute demo to get kids excited and to model for teachers the sort of activities they can do with kids. A tree demo, for example, for grade 1, might start with kids sitting in a circle with their eyes closed. I pass out laminated leaves and then each child must look at their leaf, stand up, and find the person with a match. I'd do some of the tree songs in the tree kit, and a few more tree games.

Of the classes I did demos for, four are following through, one 4-5 combo, one kindergarten, one 1-2 combo, and one third grade. The teacher calls when the kids are ready and I come in to do the test. For K-2 I test orally individually which takes some time, about an hour/test/class. For third grade and up I test as a group by having the kids write the answers. For a tree test I hold up a leaf and the kids write what it is. Then I hold up a cone/acorn and say, "Write a #1 next to the tree this came from." When I come in for a second time to test for ferns, kids who didn't pass the tree test would have a chance to re-test. I give each child who passes a certificate (available from the local teachers' store) so even if a child doesn't become a Junior Botanist s/he will have something for the parts of the test s/he did pass.

I've also had some interest from home schoolers this year - one 4th grade boy passing at the 7th grade level, his second grade sister passing at the 5th grade level, and their preschool brother passing at the 4th grade level. (The preschooler is in one of my classes.) I've recruited the older two to help me with testing.

Let me know if you need any additional info.

Anonymous 06-16-2004 01:07 PM

From: kate comings
Date: 02/06/02
Time: 09:38 AM

Wendy, Tnanks for the field trip the other day at Roys Redwoods for the Brookside 3rd grade. I have a question and that is, after the 8 or so stated trees can the person who is teaching about trees just add 4 more at will or should she add specific trees? I think 3rd graders need to identify 12 trees in all. Which ones should they be? Thanks, Kate Ames Comings

Anonymous 06-16-2004 01:07 PM

From: R. Imler, email:
Date: 08/20/01
Time: 12:57 PM

My son and his friend each need a White Alder leaf for their 9th grade leaf collection. Would anyone be willing to send us 2 leaves? We live in Pennsylvania. I would pay postage.Thank you in advance.

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