Wild Sun Catchers: Plants of the Peninsula Monthly Workshops for Kids!
Description: A FREE after school nature workshop celebrating the wild plants of the Blue Hill Peninsula for ages 5-12. Join Blue Hill Heritage Trust at the Blue Hill Public Library on the first Tuesday of every month 3:30-4:30pm to get better acquainted with the beautiful plant life around us all year long – hollow stemmed sumac, edible pine, waxy bay berries. Come use your five senses to explore their magic! There will be crafting, eating, learning, and other hands-on activities. There will also be tea to enjoy made from one of our plant friends, along with a chance to learn how to make tea from scratch. Workshops will take place both indoors and outdoors so please come prepared for the weather.
For January we got to know the exotic looking staghorn sumac with its furry red berries and soft pithy stalks. We learned about why it is called staghorn sumac, which plants are male and female, how hardy sumac is resisting erosion and salty roads, and identified some of the many birds that rely on sumac as an emergency winter food source. We talked about how sumac berries are edible, but August is the best time for humans to use them to make a tea or lemonade! They are full of vitamin C and offer a citrusy flavor and beautiful pink color to summer beverages. For this workshop we had raspberry tea instead to stick with the red color theme.
We played around with the branches to make necklaces, gnomes, and wands, and one young participant even made up a sumac dance for the occasion! Participants noticed many things as they worked with the branches: the sticky sap oozing out of them, the green under the bark, the little brown seeds inside the red fuzz.
As they headed out the door, gnomes in hand, sumac beads dangling over winter coats, they choose a sumac branch of berries to bring home with them and feed to the birds in their yard.
These monthly workshops are designed to introduce to the youth of our community (and parents and grandparents who join us as well!) common plants that live and grow on our peninsula that we might not take notice of in our busy lives but that have amazing stories to share with us. We hope these workshops become a celebration of plant life and all that they provide for us.
~ Landere Naisbitt, Outreach Coordinator