The Accelerated School – White Point Nature Preserve

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Hello Garden Friends,

This last Thursday was extra special. I got the opportunity to take the third graders on a field trip to Palos Verdes and visit the White Point Nature Reserve. This reserve is a refuge for many species of endangered butterflies that rely on specific plants in order to complete their life cycle. With native habitats being developed, reserves like this become extremely important to the survival of these specialized butterfly species.

The lessons on the reserve were delivered by some top notch naturalists and I look forward to incorporating their curriculum into my own. The theme of the trip was centered around recognizing drought tolerant adaptations. Some plants, like black sage, had fuzzy leaves in order to insulate and reflect the sunlight away from the leaf. The fuzz on the underside of the leaf also prevents water loss by creating a sort of baffle zone that prevents air from quickly circulating the water molecules away from the leaf. Above you can see the students using magnifying glasses to look for fuzzy leaves.

Another adaptation we observed was waxy leaves on a lemonade berry plant. The activity started by holding a waxy dixie cup and scratching the surface with our fingernails. We noticed a white waxy residue building up where our fingernails had passed. We also held a honey comb and a leaf from a lemonade berry. The wax is used to hold water in the cup, honey in the honey comb, and also helps hold water in the plant!

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The last drought adaptation we observed was on a laurel sumac. The sumac evolved folded leaves to minimize the leaf surface to direct sun exposure. In order to prove the concept we took our adventure booklets and opened them wide to collect as much sun as possible. Then, we folded the booklet in half and watched as the shadows cool the pages.

So cool! Until next time, grow on!
-Jeff Mailes

EnrichLA Team

Proudly inherited my green thumb and love of gardening, growing & eating vegetables from my mama, a landscape architect, my grandmother & great grandfather all from Savannah, Georgia. My mama said she designed gardens to make the world a peaceful, beautiful place to sit and day dream or picnic and take a nap. Planting edible gardens with children is a joyful experience. Watching children explore, learn & grow while seedlings germinate reaching for the sky reassures me the earth is in good hands for future generations. My little girl Maya, LOVES to eat green veggies including kale, chard, spinach, bok choi and lettuce. Thank Goodness for Gardens.

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