We have explored the topic of plant blindness often in this column and have learned about the many reasons why we need to take this topic seriously. One of these reasons has to do with the management of invasive plant species. Today we learn about an activity introducing students to invasive species and the biology behind how they “invade”.

In A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Invasive Plant Universe, professor Richard H. Audet presents an activity about “alien invaders” that is based on the 5E learning cycle. This classroom activity requires students to think about seed dispersal and calls upon them to write about (and draw) the relationship between seed form and function.

Audet (2005) includes a list of online resources for teachers in his article. Some of the links he provides have changed over the years, so I looked for the current links. Update the resources in Audet (2005) with these links:

When it comes to drawing the form and function of seeds, Audet (2005) does not offer any guidance. This is okay because together we’ve learned about many drawing, painting and observation techniques from the wonderful guests who have stopped by this site to visit. To browse conversations with past guests, go to the “Featured Guests” section in the righthand column. If you are pressed for time and are looking for resources to use in your classroom or program right away, here are two resources you might want to consider:

Audet’s article and activity about invasive species was published in Science Scope, a journal for middle school science teachers. Audet (2005) can be purchased online at the NSTA Store for 99¢.

Literature Cited

Audet, Richard, H. 2005. A hitchhiker’s guide to the invasive plant universe. Science Scope. 29(1): 42-45


Activities to Investigate Plant Ecology

Natural science illustrator and science educator, Rick Simonson, and two fellow guides will lead an 11-day trip to the Galapagos Islands next Spring through the organization Education First College Study Tours. Here is a glimpse of what is planned for this upcoming adventure schedule for May 13 – 23, 2015:

  • Day 1 – Fly to Ecuador
  • Day 2 – Guided tour of Quito
  • Day 3 – Fly to Baltra and continue to Santa Cruz Island. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.
  • Day 4 – Boat excursion to San Cristobal Island
  • Day 5 – Boat excursion to Floreana Island
  • Day 6 – Return to Baltra, visit Twin Craters, return to Quito
  • Day 7 – Visit Cotopaxi National Park
  • Day 8 – Travel to Riobamba to visit Andean villages
  • Day 9 – Travel to Guamote to take part in cultural exchange activities, return to Riobamba
  • Day 10 – Travel to Guamote to take part in cultural exchange activities, return to Quito
  • Day 11 – Depart for home

Visit the website of Education First College Study Tours to view a detailed itinerary and for more information.

$4,229 (age 29 and under, triple/quad room occupancy)
$4,529 (age 30 and over, double room occupancy)

Artist and naturalist Linda C. Miller has a collection of small nature paintings now on view at A Touch of Earth Gallery. This artisan gallery features all forms of collectible art, including pottery, jewelry, prints, lamps, metal works and more.

Stop by the gallery on Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 12-4 PM to meet Linda and to view her new collection titled, Small Works. Linda has painted over 100 portraits and is known for her contemporary compositions, bold rich colors and detailed work.

Hold Your Order!

Bartram_cover_1000pxHurts Sale
ArtPlantae on Square
Beginning November 28, 2014

Botanical art catalogs with minor bumps and scratches will go on sale in a couple of weeks. Take advantage of slightly bruised merchandise and add to your collection.

Check back here for more information!

Each year the Pollinator Partnership hosts Pollinator Week, a weeklong event highlighting the “birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants (and) are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food” (Pollinator Partnership). The Pollinator Partnership has been an advocate for pollinator awareness since 1996.

Although Pollinator Week is held in June each year, pollinator awareness and education is important year-round. If you live in southern California, here is an opportunity to learn about pollinators during the upcoming winter break.

This past weekend, a new exhibition about California pollinators opened at the Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum at the Fullerton Arboretum in southern California. Pollinators: Keeping Company with Flowers is a traveling exhibition featuring educational displays about:

  • Pollination and Fertilization
  • Flowers & Their Pollinators
  • Mimicry in Pollinators
  • Bees & Wasps
  • Butterflies & Moths
  • Beetles
  • Flies
  • Observing Pollinators

Unlike exhibitions that take a purely scientific look at plants and pollinators, the current exhibition includes an artistic perspective on these topics by featuring the photography of plantsman and photographer, John Whittlesey, and the watercolor paintings of students in the Art department at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). Whittlesey’s photographs of pollinators in wild and garden settings are at the heart of the exhibition. The paintings by CSUF students complement his photos and introduce visitors to some of the plants and landscape scenes they will discover as they explore the peaceful 26-acre arboretum.

When planning a visit to the Fullerton Arboretum to view Pollinators: Keeping Company with Flowers, consider participating in one or more of the learning opportunities offered during the exhibition. These opportunities to learn about native plants, nature photography and insects come just in time for springtime studies in your classroom or programs:

Learn about pollinators at the Fullerton Arboretum

(November 2 – December 28, 2014)

Literature Cited

Also See…

Natural Science Illustrators Promote Pollinator Awareness

Visit the Hickory Museum of Art

Visit the Hickory Museum of Art

When Ruth Ava Lyons visited last year to discuss artist residencies and her multi-media approach to botanical art, she was about to embark on a residency at the Heron Island Research Station in Australia. This residency is now completed and the artwork inspired by this experience is the focus of Oceanic Alchemies, an exhibition opening this weekend at the Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory, NC. This exhibition features underwater photography and Ruth’s painted impressions of man’s impact on the environment, endangered ecosystems and global warming. Oceanic Alchemies will be on view through February 8, 2015.

The Hickory Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday (10 AM – 4 PM) and Sunday (1-4 PM). The museum is closed on Mondays and holidays.
Admission is free.

By Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region

Postcard image courtesy BASNCR.

Go to the Anthenaeum

Preserving Our Heritage:
Native and Heirloom Plants

North Virginia Fine Arts Association
November 13, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Each year, the artists of the Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region (BASNCR) hold at least one juried exhibition in the Washington area to promote awareness of botanical art as a living art form. BASNCR artists work in a variety of media including the traditional watercolor on paper, as well as ink, graphite, gouache, colored pencil, oil, and silverpoint.

This year’s exhibition, Preserving Our Heritage, will be held at the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The exhibition opens on November 13, 2014 and continues through January 3, 2015. Susan Frei Nathan of Susan Frei Nathan Fine Works on Paper juried the exhibition. Susan has over two decades of experience evaluating botanical art, and is a passionate expert and champion of botanical artwork.

The exhibition offers the artists of BASNCR an opportunity to showcase their favorite native or heirloom plants. There are a variety of definitions for both types of plants. A generally accepted definition for a native plant is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention.

Some define heirloom plants in terms of the length of time a cultivar has been grown, or its existence before a specific date (e.g., 1951). Some use heirloom in its traditional sense and define an heirloom plant as a cultivar that has been handed down from one family or group member to another for many generations.

Whatever the definition for either category of plant, BASNCR artists each have favorite plants that they grow or admire (or anguish over not being able to grow), and will present them in their artwork at the Athenaeum.

Participating Artists:

      Ann Baker
      Carol Tudor Beach
      Judy Brown
      Tina Thieme Brown
      Esther Carpi
      Anne Clippinger
      Karen Coleman
      Jane Dowling
      Lee Boulay D’Zmura
      Bonnie Driggers
      Joan Ducore
      Mary Elcano
      Margaret McPherson Farr (Betsy)
      Lara Gastinger
      Gail Harwood
      Mary Page Hickey
      Juliet Kirby
      Jerry Kurtzweg
      Pamela Mason
      Elena Maza-Borkland
      Linda C. Miller
      Marsha Ogden
      Berit Robertson
      Mary Jane Zander

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, November 16, 2014 from 4-6 pm.

Gallery Hours:
Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 12–4 pm and Saturdays from 1–4 pm.
The Athenaeum is closed on holidays. Admission to the gallery is free.


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