Would you taste a wild plant in the local environment? Last year, many kids in 3rd through 8th grade gave sour grass and mustard a try on field trips hosted by FSCR to the Ventura treatment ponds and Santa Clara River estuary. Apparently the impressions were strong and lasting. “Can we taste it?” is being heard often during a second year of class trips with FSCR.
“Look! What are these?” a student asked pointing to clusters of small purple berries on a large bush, “Can we taste it?” Turns out she found a cluster of elderberries, as the kids learned by looking at the leaf shape, leaf color and plant shape. Finding out the berries are edible, the tasting commenced. “Juicy!” “Yuck!” “Sweet!” were among their conclusions. A bit further down the trail the castor bean plant was examined including learning that the seeds are the source of castor oil, an old fashioned medicine that is mildly poisonous. No tasting those!
FSCR is leading 23 trips a year for three years for the Explore the Coast program funded by State Coastal Conservancy. Lots of other interesting discoveries are taking place, as well as a vigorous beach clean up actions by the students.