On Tuesday 14th of June students from Woodstock attended a herbarium and pollination workshop at Bristol Zoo Gardens. This linked in with work we have been doing in the garden at school. We have been growing a rare form of calendula (marigold) as part of the Zoo’s National Collection of these endangered plants. This is the third year that we have contributed to the Bristol Community Plant Collection and each year we have learnt something new!
Along with students from three other Bristol schools our children learnt how to collect specimens, press and preserve them. We were able to see images of calendula that had been pressed in 1871! The students showed great team work and patience when pressing their calendula and are looking forward to receiving their own flower press from the zoo so that we can preserve our own specimens.
Next up was a bit of role play with some children pretending to be insects while others were the flowers. This really brought the topic of pollination to life and emphasised to the students the importance of making sure our rare calendula are not cross pollinated. They were then able to practice hand pollinating some flowers and they showed great concentration and took enormous care. It was also exciting for the children to be able to view pollen and flower heads through the powerful microscopes available. Our students did a fantastic job, listened well, showed great knowledge and were a credit to our school.
Once we had finished the workshop we were able to explore the zoo at our leisure! Much fun was had by all. Particular highlights were watching the gorillas being fed, the butterfly walk through and twilight world. The children were just as pleased to see the robin trying to steal our sandwiches and the butterfly perching on the glass of the lion enclosure!