Source:Second Nature - Environmental Studies Pack (5-14), SNH & RSPB - available from the RSPB.
- To stimulate an interest in plants
- To sharpen powers of observation in the identification of woodland plants
- To identify some of the plants that grow in Scottish native woods that were used by people in the past.
- To develop a sense of stewardship for local woodlands
You will need
- One set of picture / information cards per group - see downloads
- Sketch books & pencils (optional)
- Camera (optional)
Did you know?In the past people were dependent on native woodland plants for food, medicine, clothing and shelter. Today we are still dependent on plants but we rarely collect them ourselves from our local area. The book 'Wild food' by Roger Philips shows just how many readily available wild plants are edible! Your local ranger or reserve staff may be able to help with plant identification and to show you other interesting plants on their patch.
Before the ActivityIdentify a suitable area of woodland in which to carry out the activity. Your local ranger or reserve staff may be able to help. You may wish to do the activity at one spot or as you move through a woodland on your way to another location. Print out (and laminate, if desired) enough picture cards to have one set per group.
The activityAsk the children if they can think of any plants which they use from the woods today (they might think of playing conkers, collecting blaeberries, brambles or fungi). Do they know anyone who gathers food from forests or woods? Can they think of any plants that early huntergatherer people would have used?
Give each group a set of cards and explain that each card shows a plant that has been growing in these woods for thousands of years and was used by early people. Challenge them to find one or more of the plants illustrated and to read about them when they find them. Ask them not to pick the plants. Call the group back together after 15 minutes to discuss the plants they found. If time allows, ask them to sketch and label one of the plants, trying to draw the features that would allow someone else to recognise this useful plant again. Alternatively, take photographs that can be printed back at school and used for identification purposes and display. Emphasise that many plants, berries and fungi are poisonous and that the children should never eat them, unless an adult they trust has told them it is safe.
Suggested Follow upResearch present and past uses of our native plants.
Ask the children to ask their parents, guardians or grandparents if they know any traditional uses of local native plants.
- The book 'Wildfood' by Roger Phillips provides information about native plants
- The SNH factsheet 'All About ... Spagnum Moss' provides information about the past uses of spagnum moss
- The Scottish Wood web site
Trees for Life site provide in depth information on our native trees and their uses.
- Science - main
- Expressive Arts - main
- 2. Primary
- 3. Lower Secondary