May 24th, 2024

Interpretive Program to offer free plant identification walk

By ANNA SMITH on April 27, 2024.

asmith@medicinehatnews.com

With spring weather seemingly finally here to stay comes a variety of plant life to the city’s green spaces, and the Medicine Hat Interpretive Program would like to invite residents to learn how to recognize them.

May 1 will host the Budding Botanists Plant ID Walk, a free event available to the public.

“We’re going to cover some basic plant identification. Some tips, such as what to look for, how to find similarities between plants to help build your knowledge and your repertoire of plants you recognize,” said Genevieve Mathieu, park interpreter. “And we’ll talk a little bit about how this skill of plant identification can help us as gardeners, as foragers and as naturalists.”

Mathieu considers herself a “passionate plant person,” and had initially wanted to do the ID walk during the winter, but circumstances pushed it back to when everything was coming into bloom. However, she’s optimistic for the event, as these skills can be used at any point throughout the year.

Plant identification skills are useful for many things, said Mathieu.

“If we have yards that we maintain, it can help us to know if something is a weed, or maybe it’s a beneficial plant, a native species,” said Mathieu. “As gardeners, it can help us to know the names of plant parts, which can help us to prune them or look out for issues that the plant might be having. Even when we’re going to buy plants, we can have more intention behind what we’re choosing to buy and knowing what it is and what kind of sites they’re best suited for.”

Even for those who don’t garden or forage, plant identification can be helpful in forming a deeper connection with nature and the world around us, or help with other natural hobbies, such as knowing what plants make good nesting sites for birdwatchers.

While the program is free, those interested are asked to call the nature centre at 403-529-6225 to reserve a spot, as there will be limited availability.

“Everything will be outside, so dress for the weather, and dress comfortably,” said Mathieu. “It is getting into the tick season, so people might want to wear long pants or boots, or just do a good tick check at the end of the walk. Protect your skin, protect your eyes.”

Attendees are also encouraged to bring any identification tools they may have, such as hand lenses, books, or apps they may already be using.

The event will run from 1:30-3 p.m. at Police Point Park.

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