Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nature Experienceship - Aspen Forests with Sam St. Clair

What an amazing time we had at the last Nature Experienceship with Dr. Sam St. Clair. We had the opportunity to go up past Aspen Grove and check out the amazing Aspen trees. We learned how vital Aspen trees are to the health of a forest. Did you know that although there may be many Aspen trees, they may actually all be connected to the same root system? Pretty Amazing!!! Did you know that you can use the powder on an Aspen tree trunk as sun screen? Did you know that Aspen trees developed a gross taste in their leaves in order to dissuade browsers (elk and other plant eating animals) from taking away their source of nutrition? Are you aware of the fact that these trees have pockets, when pierced by insects, shoots out a stream of fluid which blows these pest away? (Dr. St. Clair described this unique characteristic as equivalent to us popping a zit). Dr. St. Clair's passion for these vital trees was absolutely contagious. Everyone in attendance truly enjoyed the experience. Dr. St. Clair taught us how wildfires in the forests are actually important to the overall health of forests in the long run. How you may ask? Well, finding out these answers are one of the many reasons to attend EVERY NATURE EXPERIENCESHIP you possibly can! For those who skipped out on this Nature Experienceship because they assumed trees are boring...ask anyone in attendance and they will explain to you how this experience was the furthest thing away from boring. We all walked away with a greater appreciation for the forest and in particular, Aspen trees. We hope to see you at our next Nature Experienceship. Make sure you visit our website regularly and add us on Facebook to make sure you don't miss out on the next Nature Experienceship! Enjoy these video clips.

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Michael Silva, Museum Educator

Friday, October 5, 2012

Nature Experienceship - Wild Edibles with Tom Smith

“Think of it as a tuition rebate.” Dr. Smith told us, as we ate sweet yew berries straight off of the bushes outside the Jesse Knight Building on BYU campus. Students passing by stared as we plucked clover and munched on flower petals.  Last Saturday, Dr. Smith took us all over campus, showing us a dozen different varieties of edible plants that most people see every day, but would never think of eating. As part of the Wild Edibles Nature Experienceship we tasted plants like pansies, nasturtiums, wild sumac, Oregon grapes, yew berries (the flesh of the berry is not poisonous) and more. Some of the plants we tasted, like the wild sumac, were edible, but as Dr. Smith explained, not very tasty alone, so we learned how to turn them into tasty drinks and dishes.
After we’d collected all sorts of berries, leaves and flowers we made some of the tastiest things I have ever had. Acorn flour muffins, purslaine casserole and wild sumac lemonade were some of our favorites. By the end of the morning, we had learned a ton about wild plants that are not only edible, but really tasty, too! We were really lucky to have an enthusiastic expert on edible plants with us to show us things that we would normally never try. Thanks Dr. Smith!
Keep your eyes peeled for future wild edibles trips and join us Saturday, October 20th at 8 AM for a tour of aspen forests with Sam St. Clair!

Shanna, Museum Educator