TAS – Edible Fossils

TAS - May 5, 2016 - 3 of 4

Hello Garden Friends,

Last Thursday at TAS we made our own fossils! It was a perfect lesson to reinforce what some of the TAS - May 5, 2016 - 2 of 4students had learned at their trip to the La Brea tar pits. The fossils were basically handmade corn tortillas with leaves pressed into them. 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Before letting the kids roll and press their tortillas we talked about why fossils are important. “Did you know we are all family?” I asked. “Yes, we are all brothers and sisters with different mom’s and dad’s.” I continued to explain that monkeys and dogs are family, and birds too – justĀ more distantly related. Scientists can tell how closely related we are to each other by studying our bones and fossils and making educated guesses about how long ago our common ancestors lived.

After a quick demonstration on how to safely harvest leaves from a plant, I gave the students a couple minutes to search the garden for a sample to fossilize. We then rolled the dough, pressed the leaves, and threw them on my cast iron to cook the images into the tortillas.

TAS - May 5, 2016 - 1 of 4Afterwards, while the students were eating I had intended to give them some existential food for thought as well – asking “What will scientists discover if they find fossils from our world today?” I’ll have to teach carbon footprints another day šŸ˜‰

With garden love,

-Jeff

Jeff Mailes

Jeff Mailes is a garden designer and environmental educator working out of Woodland Hills, CA. A Los Angeles County Master Gardener and UC Davis Alumni, Jeff earned his B.S. in Environmental Resource Science in 2012 and has been growing edibles and natives for the past 6 years. Jeff's passion for plants and garden education has led him to school gardens from Los Angeles to Sacramento and all the way up to Portland, Oregon. Now familiar with ecosystems across the West Coast, Jeff has settled back home and works to bring people together over food and inspire the next generation of earth stewards to leave it better than they found it. When not writing about himself in the third person, Jeff enjoys singing with his guitar, going on camping and hiking excursions, and tossing a frisbee around with his friends.

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