5.21.2013

National Wildflower Week

Did you know that this is National Wildflower Week? (Or it may have been two weeks ago if you're on Lady Bird Johnson Wildlflower Center time, but there's no time like the present!)  Get in on the fun with these wildflower activities.

First, get some background knowledge by visiting the U. S. Forest Service's Celebrating Wildflowers page where you can learn about wildflowers from around the country and find lots of wildflower activities.  Also check out their 20 Ways to Observe National Wildflower Week list and locate a botanical garden or arboretum near you.

Read Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America to learn about former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson's love for wildflowers and the work she did to share her passion with the people of the United States.
 After reading about this famous Texan, practice motor skills with a Texas wildflower craft.
Learn to make paper bluebonnets, Texas' state wildflower, in just a few steps in this previous article.

Explore and compare the 50 state flowers of the U. S.  Notice that some state flowers are wildflowers chosen because they are indigenous to the state.  After perusing the gallery, students can write a persuasive letter or essay about why their state flower is the best or why their state flower should be changed to a plant that better represents the state.

Visit the U. S. Forest Service Dyes page to learn about natural dyes made from native plants.  The page includes a list of plants that were commonly used for dye by Native Americans and a guide to plants by their dye color. Try making your own wildflower dye using this tutorial from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Sheepy Hollow Farm Life has a long list of plants and flowers that can be used to make the dyes.  Then, soak natural fiber (cotton, wool, silk) strings or fabrics in the handmade wildflower dyes.  After soaking, leave the dyed fibers to dry while you go read the first chapter of Lois Lowry's book, Gathering Blue, from The Giver series. 
This book's main character, Kira, is a skilled young embroiderer who learns the art of natural dye making in order to complete an important assignment from the leaders of her underdeveloped village.

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