Student using hand lens to look at plants
This STARS field trip takes place at Glacier's Native Plant Nursery. The nursery serves as the support center for the Park's Native Plant Restoration Program. By growing and revegetating with native plants, the Native Plant Restoration Program supports the National Park Mission of preserving natural resources. This work also helps to keep the larger ecosystem healthy.
Goals (students will understand):
- The mission of the National Park Service.
- The connection between the mission of National Parks and the work being done by the Native Plant Restoration Program.
- Basic plant form and function.
- That we grow native plants from cuttings and from seed.
Objectives (students will be able to):
- Give the two main reasons for doing native plant restoration in Glacier National Park.
- Find GNP in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.
- Name the main parts of a tree.
- Demonstrate how to make a cutting.
- Define "native plant."
- Tell the main purpose of a seed.
- Tell the difference between a grass, forb, shrub, tree and fern.
Vocabulary: Native plant, ecosystem.
Subjects: Geography, National Park Service, history, restoration of disturbed lands, horticulture, plant biology.
Concepts Covered: National Park Service Mission, Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, native plant restoration, propagation from seed and cuttings, basic form and function of plants.
Curriculum Standards: Science Standard 3; "Students demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures and function of living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment."
Location: Glacier National Park Headquarters, West Glacier, MT
Length: 2 hours
- This program starts with an introductory talk about what a National Park is, what we do at Glacier’s Native Plant Nursery, what a native plant is and why we use native plants to restore disturbed lands in the park. We also discuss the term ecosystem, and share that Glacier and the Flathead Valley are in The Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.
- Students are then divided into three to four groups, dependant on group size. These groups will rotate through stations where they will learn about plant adaptations in Glacier, plant groups, plant parts and functions and propagating native plants from seeds and cuttings.
- Groups rotate through 20-minute stations, with one nursery staff and one chaperone at each station.
- The students all come together for a wrap-up activity, where they sing “Dirt Made My Lunch”