Cameron University Professor of Biology Dr. Mike Dunn will lead a group of MacArthur Middle School students on a service project at the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center on Friday, April 21. Approximately 60 students will assist in planting native plants at the Aquarium’s Botanical Gardens and will test their identification skills via a scavenger hunt for native plants. The middle school students will be the first group to officially tour the soon-to-open facility.
“I hope that many of these students will discover a passion for biology once they feel the soil in their hands,” says Dunn. “Just as roots take hold in the soil, the love of biology takes hold when young people enjoy a first-hand experience working with plants and nature.”
Native perennials will be planted at the Aquarium’s vast garden, throughout 30 planting areas that measure 4’x10’. Native perennials were selected with an emphasis on pollinators to attract butterflies and bees. Additional considerations were color and seasonality. Among the plants selected are Asters, Baptisia, Monarda, Silphium, Salvia, Callirhoe, Solidago, Solidago Wichita Mountains, Heliopsis, Echinacea, two varieties of Ratabida, Liatris, and Engelmann Daisy.
The project is funded by a Botany Advocacy Leadership Grant from the Botanical Society of America (BSA) Public Policy Committee and the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) Environmental and Public Policy Committee.
Working with the Southwestern Chapter of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society, Dunn’s goal for the grant is to unite the various institutions and organizations in southwest Oklahoma which are devoted to using plants to enhance the quality of life in the region. In addition, the grant will fund the use of plants as they relate to natural history, anthropology and archeology, horticulture and agriculture.
April 19, 2017