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Wildflowers by Mr. Matt
Welcome to the first day in our naturalist grab bag week. My name is Matt, I am a teacher naturalist here at the science center and today we are going to be exploring one of the things I love the most about the Ozarks and nature in general: wildflowers.
For me, going out into nature looking for wildflowers is kind of like a treasure hunt. When it comes to flowers and treasure there are plenty of ways to go looking for both.
Sometimes I just go out looking for any kind of flowers I can find. It's like I’m a treasure hunter with a metal detector, I don’t really know what I might find or if I’ll find anything but the possibility of finding a new or unusual flower is very exciting.
Other times I go out to look for a flower that I know exactly where to find. These are the times when I’m like a pirate who has buried treasure. I remember exactly where I buried it, and I’m going to have a look at it.
Sometimes I go looking for a specific species of flower that I haven’t seen before. These are the times when I do some research to narrow down the possibilities of where to look for the flower I want to find. These are the times when I’m like a person searching for buried treasure. I’m not the person who buried it so I don’t know where it is, but I have a map that can at least point me in the right direction.
This is all starting to get me excited to go out and find some flowers. So let’s go into our yards and see if we can find any flowers growing there. Remember some flowers can be very small so be sure to look closely. Were there any flowers in bloom in your yard? What did you notice about them? Did you find yourself asking any questions about what you found? Did your discoveries remind you of anything? With some crayons or colored pencils draw a picture of any flowers you found.
I also find it exciting that I get to search for flowers in many different habitats, and the flowers I can find are different in each habitat. Imagine being a pirate searching for buried treasure, and depending on where you looked you could expect to find different kinds of treasure. If you dug in one place you might expect to find gold, in another place would be silver, and in yet another location you would find jewels and gemstones.
Many flowers that grow in the Ozarks can be found in the forest but not all are found in the same parts of the forest.
Some flowers like these dutchman’s breeches like to grow in moist parts of the forest near water.
Other flowers, like this rose vervain, like to grow in the drier areas of the forest in places with many cedar and pine trees.
And still other flowers don’t like to grow in the forest at all. Species like this indian paintbrush would rather grow in open sunny places like prairies and glades.
In short, this wildflower pirate is glad to have so many different kinds of treasure to find in many different places.
All this talk of treasure has got me excited to go on an adventure. Let’s use our writing skills to go on an adventure of our own. With paper and pencil write a short story where you are the adventurer going on a quest to find a treasure. The treasure you are searching for can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a “typical” treasure of gold, silver, and jewels or it can be something completely different. Remember your story can be as exciting and adventurous or as calm and relaxing as you want.
So basically, I love flowers!!! They come in so many different sizes, shapes, and colors and grow in a variety of different places. They add color and beauty to the world and the opportunities I’ve had to go out and search for them is like going on an adventure or a treasure hunt for me.
Well naturalists, that brings us to the end of our day of exploring the wonder of wildflowers. Make sure to join us tomorrow for another naturalist grab-bag! We’ll get to meet another naturalist here at ONSC and join them for an exploration of what they love about nature. Also, don’t forget to tune in for our Find Out Friday where we will answer your questions about nature and the Ozarks live. Make sure to send in your questions to our Facebook page or to Socialmedia@onsc.us.
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