VIU's Milner Gardens and Woodland in the news: Gardening as child's play

April 20, 2012 - 7:51am

By Steve Whysall

Vancouver Sun

In the lush coastal woodland at Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, children are being taught how to remember the proper Latin names of plants in a particularly creative and memorable way.

First, they make a Harry Potter wand out of fresh cut and peeled alder and then they approach a plant and pronounce its name out loud as if casting a magic spell. They shout out Polystichum munitum for the western sword fern or Pseudotsuga menziesii for Douglas fir or perhaps Gaultheria shallon for salal.

Once they have spoken the name correctly, they are allowed to add a leaf or tiny piece of the plant to their wand. And so they continue, speaking Latin “spells,” learning plant names, and building their wand into what eventually becomes a rustic memory stick.

Charlene Forrest, coordinator of Milner’s [Shoots with Roots] program for children, says some of the kids prefer taking a more action-packed approach to learning the plant names. “We call this method the ‘warrior’s way.’ The kids shout out each part of the plant name as if they were performing a martial arts exercise. We also use an African djembe drum and play out the sound of the Latin words because some kids learn faster when they can hear the words being played to a sound and they can feel the rhythm with their body.”

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[Shoots with Roots at Milner Gardens and Woodland]()

Tags: In the Community

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