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West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Description

Objectives: Explore the classification, diversity, and ecology of the wildflowers. Learn techniques for collection and study.
Class type: Core curriculum
Time: 4 hours
Optimal season: Spring, summer, fall
Materials: Hand lens, field guides, digging tool, plastic bags, plant press.
Expected outcomes: The student will gain a basic understanding of
  1. the major groups and important families of flowering plants.
  2. basic terms for describing flowering plants.
  3. how to collect and preserve plants.
  4. identifying flowering plants using field guides and keys.
  5. approaches to further study, including helpful references and organizations.

West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Outline

Time: 4 hours
  1. Broad classification of herbaceous flowering plants
    1. Monocots some major families
      • Grasses
      • Sedges
      • Lilies
      • Orchids
    2. Dicots some major families
      • Composites
      • Rose family
      • Mints
      • Mustards
      • Parsley family
  2. Form and function
    1. Underground parts
    2. Stems
    3. Leaves
    4. Flowers and reproduction
    5. Fruits and seeds
  3. Ecology
    1. Mycorrhizae
    2. Nitrogen fixing
    3. Parasitic plants
    4. Carnivorous plants
    5. Weeds
  4. Useful (to humans) wild plants
    1. Food
    2. Medicine
    3. Cordage, basketry, etc.
  5. How to collect and preserve green plants
    1. A complete specimen
    2. Adequate collection data: location, date, collector, habitat
    3. Pressing and drying
    4. Maintaining your collection
  6. How to learn more
    1. Books
    2. West Virginia Native Plant Society and other organizations
  7. Suggestions for study
    1. Creating checklists
    2. Phenology: flowering and fruiting dates
    3. Pollination and pollinators
    4. Habitats and associates



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