In the day long lesson, Grade 6 class learnt about the difference between Alien Plants and Indigenous plant. Looking a Gum Tree and Wild Worm Wood, Artimesia the children were challenged to think about all the common plants they see and can recognize and understand why some Alien Plants known as invasives have managed to thrive in a area at the expense and survival of other indigenous plants. We spoke briefly about how plants, like Lantana, a pervasive problem in KZN was brought over as ornamental garden plant from Asia and now has taken over riverine ecosystems and many other scenic parts. Not only do these Alien Invasive plants rob the area of nutritions, sunlight and space but they often use far great volumes of water depleting rivers and basal flow. We learnt that we also have a duty to assist the goverment with Alien Plant removal, we can remove these plants in our garden and help our neighbors to do the same. The children always so enthusiastic about outdoor activities, today they were given a scavenger hunt to seek out different plants using important identification features such an leaf arrangement on the stem, leaf size and shape, flower shape and plant morphology. This helped them hone their observation skills and they learnt new English words and how to classify and sort. Prices for top teams, were an extra bonus.
To reinforce some of the importance of indigenous water wise gardening, not only to safeguard our water but also as a medicine., Many idigenous plants are known to have healing properties. Some plants, like Scillia, a bulb that grows in the grasslands for instance has excellent anti-inflammatory properties known to sooth sore muscles, aches and strain. In this photo, we invited our local hernist, or Sangoma to come talk to the children about responble havesting of medicinal berg plants. The idea is to now establish our own medicinal garden.