If you are looking for the BrownSchooling Bunch, you can often find us out on a local nature trail seeing what native plants and animals we can find. We re in Florida, so it’s easy to take our learning outdoors all year round! We take pictures of the various plants and animals that we encounter along the way and use those pictures to research what we’ve found. This is a great way to get moving (I have to get those steps in!) and to take advantage of the beautiful weather and unique habitats near our home. Here are some of the native items from our latest outing.
WILD COFFEE PLANT– the “beans” found on the Wild Coffee Plant contain no caffeine however, they can be roasted and consumed as a coffee-like beverage. The flowers attract butterflies and the berries attract birds.
AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRIES – The roots, leaves, and berries of this beautiful plant became the base for various teas and decoctions for Native Americans. The crushed berries were rubbed on the skin to repel mosquitoes.
GOPHER TORTOISE – The gopher tortoise lives about 60 years. In Florida, the gopher tortoise is listed as Threatened and both the tortoise and its burrow are protected under state law. They dig deep burrows for shelter and feed on low-growing plants. Tortoise burrows are also used by other animals, including the pine snake, gopher frog, Florida mouse, opossum, burrowing owl, scarab beetles, and many others. Some of these animals, like the Florida mouse, cannot live without the tortoise.
FERNS – Ferns are native to Florida and were used by Native Americans for medicinal reasons.
GOLDEN SILK ORBWEAVER – The orb weaver makes a slightly tilted web (unlike other spiders). It rebuilds parts of its web everyday. The female normally eats the male after mating. Their species is the oldest surviving spider genus. Fossil remnants are 165 million years old. They are mildly venomous, causing redness, blisters, and pain at the bite area.
How do you and your children connect with nature? Leave your comment below.