Posted on | May 28, 2010 | 3 Comments
In November, 2009, with support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Los Angeles Audubon, the students, parents and staff at Leo Politi Elementary School planted a native garden at the Pico Union campus. Last week, botanical studies of the plants drawn and colored by the students went on display in the school auditorium. If they look traced, and I took them for that in an earlier edition of this post, they’re not (please see Margot Griswold’s correction below). Rather, while the display and attitude of the plants in the drawings look like they owe a debt to professional illustrations, the studies by the children were made as part of a class in which the students grew, dissected and studied the plants. Then their eyes were guided along the minute conformations of plants that most of us never see. They were being taught to observe the species, then key them by their tiniest and most telling traits, then to identify their native ranges on a map and relate those traits to climatic and geographical pressures, and finally to differentiate between common and botanical names.
Systematics, Latin, art and geography merged in one lesson.
Note: The drawing above is freeform and wholly original.