Fun Ways To Learn At A Public Garden


There are a great many benefits to walking through a public garden, and if you ever taken the time to visit one in your community or area, you know it can be a peaceful and relaxing place that leaves you refreshed from the experience. It is also a great place to give your observation skills a workout because of all the sites, smells, and sounds that naturally occur everywhere.


Here are some fun learning activities you can do while you are there that can enhance the experience!

  • Identify the flowers, plants, and trees you see around you.
  • Observe the wildlife that comes to visit the plants. 

Use the Shazam for Nature app to help you identify plants and animals you don’t know.

  • Join a garden association or society or volunteer your time to a community or public garden. Compare different gardens if you can visit a few of them. Volunteer to learn how they work and the amount of work it takes to keep them going as a valuable part of the community.
  • Look around to see who’s pollinating the plants and how it’s being done.
  • If you can, find dead plants/insects to observe. Take a pocket microscope or magnifying glass with you so you can get a closer look.
  • Read the map of the area, if one is offered.

  • Make a map of the areas you visited/enjoyed the most. How did you get to your favorite spot?

  • As you walk around, identify the scents and sounds around you. Take a deep breath and do your best to identify specific scents.

  • Put a name to the colors you see. A general color my be yellow, blue, red, green, etc., but then there are more sophisticated names for shades of colors such as buttercup yellow, fuchsia pink, azure, avocado, etc..

  • Find a quiet place to draw or paint what you see. If you enjoy drawing or painting, bring your supplies with you and enjoy being outside doing what you love.

  • Talk to the botanist, horticulturist, or the garden’s caretaker(s) and ask them questions about the things you find most interesting. A public garden near me allows us to take native plants to grow in our own yard and the caretaker is always eager to share her knowledge with us.

  • Find patterns within the flowers/plants and animals around you. Natural patterns are everywhere in nature. If you look around you’ll find them.

  • Sit down and observe the day and area around you. Find a comfortable spot to sit and be for a while and observe the sites, sounds, and smells all around you. Close your eyes and take it all in. It’s a great way to release stress.

  • Take pictures and videos. Take pictures and videos of the things you see and do. Use them to create a nature scrapbook, to help identify the things you saw, or to remember the great time you had! Post them to your blog or social media page.

  • Participate in a public vegetable garden. Many communities have areas were you can grow a garden to share with others.
Don’t forget to pack a lunch with you so you can spend the day exploring and discovering the gardens you visit!

    What are some of the fun and interesting things you like to do when you visit a public garden? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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    Plant Propagation

    Better Homes & Garden: 
    Propagating Houseplants &

    Making More Plants From Cuttings – How to make more plants from plant cuttings.

    Gardening Know How: Starting Plant Cuttings – How To Root Cuttings From Plants – Types of cutting and how to root them.

    The Balance: Best Plant To Grow From Cuttings – 19 Plants that can start from cuttings.

    WikiHow: Plant Propagation: Offers steps to propagate plants. Includes pictures.

    Wikipedia: Plant Propagation – Explains the process of plant propagation and methods.

    National Seed Swap Day 
    (Official Day is the last Saturday of the month each year.)
    Save your seeds all year long then plan a seed swap!


    Tower Garden: 7 Ways to Celebrate National Seed Swap Day – The author talks about his experience at a Seed Swap Day, why they are important, and how to celebrate the day.


    Seed Savers.org: National Seed Swap Day 2017 – Info about the day and the benefits of going to one.

    Days of The Year: Seed Swap Day – Information about the origins of the day and how to celebrate it.


    The Herbal Academy: How To Plan A Seed Swap Day in Your Neighborhood – How to save seeds and plan the event. & How to Save Seeds: From Harvesting to Using Them – Tips for saving seeds.


    Extension Services: National Seed Swap Day, January 31st, 2015 – Information about the day and how seed swapping was done by other cultures.

    YouTube: Plant Propagation Playlist – The videos in this list show you how to propagate a variety of plants, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and houseplants.
    Here are one of the videos in the list…



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    Oysters & Pearls

    WikipediaOyster – Information about salt-water bivalve molluscs – types, anatomy, etc..
    Pearl – Information about the gemstone, pearl. Etymology, definition, physical properties, fresh and saltwater pearls, creation and much more.

    American Pearl: A Brief History of Pearls: How Pearls are Harvested – Article about harvesting pearls, early history of pearl harvesting, and caring for oysters before harvest.

    Sustainable Pearls: Harvesting Pearls – A short article about how pearls are harvested.

    LiveScience: How Do Oysters Make Pearls? – How natural pearls begin in an oyster shell.

    How Stuff Works: Animals: How do oysters make pearls? – Article talks about the natural production of pearls within the oyster’s anatomy and how cultured pearls are created.

    Oceana: American Oyster – Describes what an oyster is, how it grows/reproduces, and about depleted population due to over-fishing.

    Metal Floss – 15 Shucking Amazing Facts About Oysters – This list offers some interesting facts about oysters, such as their ability to filter water, hold back fierce waves, their nutritional value, depletion and restoration projects, and more.

    Ideo: Columbia.edu: Commonly seen organisms in Oyster Gardens – PDF: Information about creating an oyster garden – includes predators and reef associates. Includes pictures.

    Original Oyster House – 10 Oyster Facts You Didn’t Know – Info about oyster gender, oyster beds, human consumption, species, nutrition information, and more.

    A-Z Animals: Oyster – Oyster facts, where they can be found, lifespan, color, food, predators, habitat and more.

    Nat Geo Sites: Oysters – About oysters: As a food, habitat and range, shells, behavior, and threats to survival.

    Rondale’s Organic Life: 6 Surprising Things You Should Know About Eating Oysters – Farmed oysters vs wild and the best time to eat them.

    Recipes
    Food Network: Oyster Recipes – Fried Oysters, Char-Grilled Oysters, Oyster Po’ Boy, Grilled Oysters Rockefeller, and more.

    Southern Living: South’s Best Oyster Recipes – Offers a variety of ways to enjoy oysters including: Grilled, baked, as a pot pie, stew, and a few other methods.

    NYT: Cooking: Butter-Fried Oysters – A classic recipe.

    Videos

    YouTube: Oysters & Pearls Playlist –  Videos include: How pearls are harvested, how pearls are formed, and how to shuck and eat an oyster.
    Here’s one of the videos that can be found in the list…


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    Cranberry Resource Page

    Cranberry Bog

    Growing Information & Health Benefits of Cranberries


    Wikipedia: Cranberry – Growing information, food uses, and medicinal benefits.

    The World’s Healthiest Foods: Cranberries – Find out the nutritional value of this food.

    MedicalNewsToday: Cranberries: Article – Health benefits, nutritional content, and risks.

    Dr. Axe: Cranberries: Article – Cranberries Benefits Are Incredible – Includes nutrition facts, benefits, history and more. Includes links to recipes as well.

    Food Facts: Dr. Mercola: Article – What Are Cranberries Good For? Offers health benefits, nutrition facts, study info, a recipe, and fun facts.

    Organic Facts: 15 Amazing Benefits Of Cranberry Juice – Medicinal some of the more interesting benefits of cranberries.

    Educational Activities & Experiments


    Ocean Spray: Cranberries in the Classroom – Free printable activities include: Fact sheets and presentations, worksheets and activities, and videos about how cranberries are grown and harvested.

    Universal Preschool.com: Cranberry Fun! – Offers some fun ways families with young children can learn about cranberries.

    Elementary Science Program: Cranberries – Historical information about cranberries, how they are grown, and links to more information.

    The STEM Laboratory: Dancing Cranberries – An experiment done with dried cranberries and a common liquid. 😊

    Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Thanksgiving Food Science: Cranberry Spy Juice – Offers two cranberry experiments and a video to show you how they are done.

    YouTube: Cranberry Playlist – Information about cranberries and experiments.
    Here’s an example of one of the videos…

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    Manatees

    *Manatee Family – Photo By Fran W.
    *Personal note about the photo: The larger manatee in the photo above is nursing her newborn calf. The larger of the young manatees, to the right of the mother, is learning how to care for the younger manatees. She travels with the mother and helps her care for the younger manatees. It is a truly beautiful site.

    General Information

    Defenders of Wildlife: Florida Manatee – Fact Sheet

    Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission: FWC’s Manatee Program – Find out about a program designed to help manatees.

    Wikipedia: Manatee – General information about manatee, including: Taxonomy, description, behavior, ecology and more. 
    Also on this site: West Indian Manatee – African Manatee – Amazonian Manatee

    National Geographic: Manatees – Aquatic life, populations, parenting & diet, threats to survival, photo gallery, videos and more.

    National Geographic for Kids: West Indian Manatee – Offers very brief information.

    Soundwaves: Fieldwork: Famous Manatee “Chessie” Sighted in Chesapeake Bay After Long Absence – Information about Chessie, a manatee that has been spotted in the Chesapeake Bay area.

    Activities To Do

    Manatee Curriculum – A curriculum written by Maia McGuire and Ruth Francis-Floyd filled with information and activities.

    Super Coloring Pages: Manatees

    Save The Manatees: Printable Coloring Pages – PDF format

    Crazy For Jigsaw Puzzles: Manatee – Play online

    About: Homeschooling: Manatee: Word Search, crossword puzzle and other manatee related activities.

    Cams & Videos


    EarthCam: Manatee Cam

    Below, you will find a few of the many videos that can be found in the manatee playlist that has been created for this topic. Enjoy!

    Baby Manatee Feeding


    Meet Snooty the Manatee

    Ocean Stories 2 – Manatees and Molas

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    Sea Turtles

    Sea Turtles
    Defenders: Sea TurtlesBasic facts about sea turtles: Diet, population, range, behavior, reproduction, etc.

    SeeTurtles: Sea Turtle Facts – Habitat & Diet, Human Threats, Life Cycle, Species

    World Wildlife Federation: Sea TurtleGeneral information.

    Sea Turtle ConservancyInformation about sea turtles, their habitats and threats to their survival.


    SeaWorld Parks & EntertainmentHabitat & Distribution: Distribution, habitat, migration, population, etc.

    National Geographic Kids – Green Sea TurtleGeneral information.

    Wikipedia: Sea Turtles Description, taxonomy and evolution, distribution and habitat, life cycle and more.

    Activities




    Videos



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    Deer

    White-Tailed Deer

    National Geographic: White-Tailed Deer – Information about white-tailed deer, breeding, diet, behavior, an audio file, and fast facts. Page also offers a picture gallery to scroll through.

    Wikipedia: Deer – Information About Deer: Classification, where they can be found around the world, anatomy, diet, reproduction, evolution, species, photos and more.

    LiveScience: Facts About Deer – Size, antlers, habitat, habits, diet, offspring, classification and more.

    Easy Science for Kids: Wild Deer – Fun facts about deer for kids, vocabulary and videos.


    DeerWorlds: Deer Facts – Deer information, types of deer, and deer
    conservation.

    Activity Pages

    Super Coloring: Deer Coloring Pages

    Coloring.WS: Deer Coloring Pages

    Activity Village: Deer – Deer puzzles, printable poem, booklet, colouring pages, deer grid, jigsaw, poster, story paper and more.

    Cybersleuth Kids: Deer Wordsearch
    Videos


    Learn more about other animals!


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    Woodpeckers

    Black-rumped Flameback

    Wikipedia: Woodpecker – General characteristics, distribution, habitat and movements, behavior: diet and feeding, breeding, and systematic evolution.

    All About Birds: Woodpeckers and Allies – Site includes the following info – A variety of woodpeckers, their identification, life history, and a sample of the sounds they make. Some videos have been included for some of the woodpeckers as well.

    Defenders:  Woodpeckers: Basic Facts – Info includes – Diet, population, range, behavior, reproduction, and protection status.

    Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Article: 
    Woodpecker Images in the Late Prehistoric Southeast

    Funschooling & Recreational Learning: Bird Watching Activities – Offers a variety of ideas for bringing birds to your yard.

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