As you head out for your early morning or evening walk, pause to enjoy the beautiful plant life all around you. We often take them for granted, but plants are essential to life and utterly awesome!
Did you know that there are about 400,000 plant species on Earth? Plants are important for human existence. Not only can plants be beautiful, put provide the oxygen we breathe, ingredients to create medicine, paper, fabric, and more, and provide much of our food source.
Many thousands of plants on land and in the ocean are not yet identified or categorized. Additionally, plant life is oceans make up about 85% of all greenery on Earth. The scientists called botanists work to learn about, organize, and help protect different kinds of plants. Botany is the study of living things which use photosynthesis to make food. This can include trees, grasses, mosses, fungi, kelp, or algae. The genetics of plants, the way they breed and grow, and the way humans impact plants are all studied in botany.
One of the most famous American botanists is George Washington Carver (c. 1864 to January 5, 1943) who was born into slavery. He went on to become one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time as well as a teacher at the Tuskegee Institute. He devised more than 100 products using one major crop — the peanut — including dyes, plastics and gasoline.
This month, read the Quirkles story, Botanist Bert, then watch our video of Botanist Bert’s Colored Flowers. Try it yourself with different colors, flowers, or even celery! Feeling more ambitious? Plant some seeds and make your own garden. Learn more about botany and George Washington Carver.
Once we can plan outings again, visit his monument close to Diamond, Missouri — the site of the plantation where Carver lived as a child. This was the first national monument dedicated to an African-American. The 210-acre complex includes a statue of Carver as well as a nature trail, museum and cemetery.