After a fluttery start. kids piled up in the lobby of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center Friday for an its scheduled afternoon drop-in craft activity.
KWEC Program Specialist Mandy Kern had things well in-hand, directing new arrivals to the exhibit room to wait their turn.
Next, she quizzed the pruned-down groups to find out what they thought they knew about leaves.
As they viewed a leaf through a microscope, they were able to get a good look at the veins — the leaf’s transport system. “They look like hairs,” noted one young participant.
After learning about the veins in most leafy plants, the kids were able to create a colorful stamp imprint on paper that highlighted the vein pattern.
Through instructive posters, older students also learned about the three basic leaf arrangements found in woody trees and shrubs; alternate, opposite and whorled, and how plants are usually identified by their leaf arrangement. Kern also noted that leaves can breathe; taking in carbon dioxide to make food through photosynthesis.
After their leaf print was finished, crafters were then ready to make their own clay leaf dish to take home, using a sand base for stability and pressing the clay down on top of the leaf to make an imprint. In a day or so, the clay would be dry enough to pinch up the sides to make a dish, and decorate as they wished.
The leaf dish activity was the second of three summer drop-days KWEC had scheduled for July, designed for ages 5-13 as free, come-and-go crafts. Next up is making insect prints on Fruday afternoon, July 29. Other activities scheduled through the summer and into fall can be viewed, along with additional program details, at http://wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu.