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Micro Ventures: Plant Identification + Nature Data Hunt

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

When out adventuring, you’re surrounded by all sorts of plants, animals, and terrain features. Have you ever wondered what the name of a plant is while hiking, what you call a mountain lake, or what common animals that might be in the woods with you?

You’re on the trail and a piece of nature, like a vibrant plant, catches your eye. You might have hiked past the plant on several other occasions but this one time it doesn’t only spark curiosity but also begins a conversation with your fellow hikers. You take a picture of it without cell phone service with the intention of looking it up later.

Learning plants and identifying ones in your region will continue to instill knowledge and adventuring. After you learn plants and their properties, you may find yourself foraging for certain ones when you’re outside. Always remember to forage responsibly and research the best practices where you are.

Use the best identification resources for your audience. Regional books help narrow down results by showing illustrations or pictures with tips on how to know you’re identifying the correct plant or species. The use of applications, like iNaturalist or PictureThis - Plant Identifier, or the internet may yield a faster result than thumbing through a book. Use technology to your advantage: The mix of technology and nature can inspire kids into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning later in life. Think of it as a fun science fair project.

Join us while we practice and have fun with plant identification on the trail, in the yard, or around the neighborhood.

Micro Ventures, a free digital program to engage all ages in nature-related activities. Stay tuned for a different "Micro Venture" each week this summer.

How to be an adventurer

1. Always be exploring.

Pay attention to everything. You are the brave adventurer making discoveries.

2. Everything is interesting.

Ask all the questions. Figure out how and why.

3. Observe.

Take time to look, listen, and feel. Notice all that is happening around you.

4. Document your discoveries.

Write it down and tell a story.

5. Keep adventuring.

Everything can be an adventure. It’s up to you to make it happen.

nature data collection printable PDF with plant identification

Gear list

  • Pencil

  • Markers and crayons

  • Ruler

Making the plant identification description

When you find the object, observe it:

  • Look

  • Listen

  • Feel

Then take the time to write down all the important details including:

  • Date and time

  • Location

  • Size and shape

  • Colors and texture

Create a Nature Data Hunt

We get it, sometimes it’s hard to leave the house or get out of the parking lot. If that is the case, consider making your own list of plants dispersed around your yard or neighborhood for a Nature Data Hunt, a do-it-yourself scavenger hunt.

  1. Make a list of plants to identify around the yard or neighborhood.

  2. Provide the list to those that will be searching.

  3. Have participants take cameras along the Nature Data Hunt to photograph when a plant has been Identified. Optional: Use paper and pencils to trace, color, or rub over the texture of the plant.

  4. Make it a fun race to the finish line. You can have multiple winners. One with the best time AND most identified and one with the most identified.

Be aware of harmful plants

Though most plants are harmless, before you start this activity, get to know some of the plants to AVOID while on the trail throughout the U.S. Please know there are other plants specific to your region that might not be on this list that should be avoided as well. Remember to never eat berries or plants if you are not completely sure what it is. Always ask a parent or friend before eating anything in nature to make sure it is safe.

What's next?

Remember to have fun and experiment. Be safe and happy plant adventuring!

Share your fun by tagging @shejumps or #SheJumps on social media with your photos.

SheJumps values providing low-to-no cost opportunities for our members. In the current state of the world, our ability to continue providing these programs relies on the availability of limited resources. If you find this education valuable, please consider a donation to support the future of our programs. Contribute to SheJumps ⟶

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