Plant Pressing – Ocean/D-Eco-Self 2018

Plant Pressing – Ocean/D-Eco-Self 2018

Ocean/Discovery of the Ecological Self 2018

Plant pressing is a critical part of preserving and understanding the environment. To press plants, there is a tool that is aptly named, “plant press,” used by botanists and other ecologists. It has been developed over hundreds of years and is made of two boards, adjustable straps, and layers of paper to dehydrate the plants. Pressing plants is important for their preservation and to study, which is why it’s a method used so often by ecologists, botanists, and even artists.

On the same day that the students of the Aslan Youth Ministry learned about seaweed, they were also taught about plant pressing byDr. Pedram Daneshgar and Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy senior Rebecca Klee and junior Taylor Donovan from the Science Department at Monmouth University. They were given a brief lesson about plant pressing and then went off to the Monmouth University greenhouse. At the greenhouse, they explored all the different flowers and plant life. The students were able to learn about each plant, and looked for patterns and textures to use in their art. By gaining this new knowledge about plants, plant pressing, and through identifying art in the plants and flowers, the students were able to connect to nature and the environment in a new way. This new perspective of nature allows the students to immerse themselves in the environment. Creating a deeper aesthetic understanding for these plants helps to create a deeper appreciation and love for nature, further inspiring environmental protection and nurturing.

To see more photos from the greenhouse trip and plant pressing, check out their respective galleries: greenhouse trip & plant pressing.

Seaweed – Ocean/D-Eco-Self 2018

Seaweed – Ocean/D-Eco-Self 2018

Ocean/Discovery of the Ecological Self 2018

Seaweed is an algae that grows in the ocean and serves many different purposes to us humans, as well as the ecosystems underwater. For us, seaweed can be found in things like food, hygiene products, and other material good, among many other uses. When it comes to food, seaweed is used in delicious recipes of soups, sushi, and more; it is a delicious snack for sea creatures, as well. For the environment, seaweed is an extremely helpful filter – it is how reefs filter themselves naturally. They remove unwanted nutrients from the water such as phosphate, carbon dioxide, and nitrate. Seaweed is also used in healing wounds, as an ingredient in various products, and even skincare!

Because of its many uses around the world, seaweed farming is important, too. Basically, farming seaweed consists of managing and cultivating naturally existing batches. Harvesting from these farms allows us access to all of the seaweed products we love. These fun facts about seaweed were taught to the children of the Aslan Youth Ministry by volunteers from the Department of Science at Monmouth University, as a part of their participation in Discovering the Ecological Self.

After learning all about seaweed, its functions and uses, and its place in the world of art, the volunteers and children moved to the Monmouth University greenhouse. There, they were able to explore everything that was growing there and got to see what seaweed felt like (pictured above). After gaining a tactile understanding of seaweed, the children also go a taste of it by eating dried seaweed. This experience of learning connected the children of the Aslan Youth Ministry to nature and immersed them in the environment around them, which is one of the main purposes of this project.

To see more photos from the greenhouse trip, check out the gallery.

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