We have a wonderful library just down the street. Trail Trekkers is a Summer Program which seeks to educate kids about the outdoors through nature walks. The girls and I joined the walk yesterday and are so glad we did! During a short 20 minute walk, we learned that:
Cat tails are the name of the weeds in the marsh outside of the library
Yarrow is a tall weed with a pretty white flower. The leaves can be used to stop bleeding!
Red-winged Blackbirds make beautiful, rolling music
Silver Maple Tree are the variety of Maples along the River
Cottonwood Tree seeds are long and encased in cotton
The tender bark of a willow tree stem can be used as asprin.
Poison Ivy: Leaves of 3, let them be...and yes, all along the greenbelt! (I was happy the girls now know what it looks like.)
Erosion of the river bank takes away the bank and a look at the best type of plant to prevent it.
A dead tree is called a snag, and the Cottonwood snag is a long-time home for birds and their nests. A Willow snag doesn't stay put for long.
The shade of a Willow Tree over the river provides nice, cool water for the fish.
and last and perhaps most significant:
Poisonous Hemlock is pretty and just asking to be picked.
Wait...that's not what we learned about Poisonous Hemlock. That's what we already KNEW about Poisonous Hemlock when we took the above pictures last week....a week before we learned that this plant is poisonous. Yes, that would be my baby touching Poisonous Hemlock. And my other daughters sandwiched around her did indeed pick this Poisonous Hemlock with their own gloveless fingers. And yes, there might have been a bouquet or two lugged home between sweaty palms and placed in vases at their Auntie Chelsea's home. You heard right: my daughters gave Poisonous Hemlock as a gift.
Glancing nervously at each other, I asked the question these Wieber girls were waiting with bated breath to know, "Are the blossoms and stems poisonous?"
"No, just the root".
And I saw my eldest's shoulders drop in relief and her big eyes crinkled in a gasping smile. "Oh GOOOOOOD! Mom, I was so scared!"