Plants

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  1. Star Flower

    Notice the peculiar juxtaposition of delicate flowers atop the thin, angular leaves of the starflower. Found but rarely in the Chicago area, this member of the primrose family prefers a habitat of moist and mossy woodlands. Learn More
  2. Sweet William

    Explore the beautiful color and size variations of the Sweet William flower, more commonly called "phlox". Though it comes in every hue, Sweet William always maintains its shape, a five part blossom extending from a slender tube. Learn More
  3. Trailing Arbutus

    Investigate the small blossoms grown from this shrub, which is also Massachusetts's state flower. Originally named the Mayflower, the Trailing Arbutus was one of the first flowers the pilgrims discovered in the new world. Learn More
  4. Winter Tree Identification

    Ever wonder how to differentiate between the leafless trees of the Chicago winter? Take a closer look at the twigs of nice different trees and you will find identifying characteristics. Learn More
  5. Aquatic Invasives

    Plunge into Chicago's local waterways, where native aquatic species compete with non-native invasive species for a stake in their own homeland. Learn plant identification techniques, differentiating local species from their invasive lookalikes. Illustrate the importance of biodiversity, and understand why invasives are so detrimental to native ecosystems. Finally, learn how to respond when you see an invasive in your nearby ecosystem, and which resources to use to prevent invasive species' from destroying the fragile balance of flora and fauna. Learn More
  6. White Lady's Slipper

    Witness the unusual beauty of this wild orchid, found only at the edge of a sphagnum bog or in low meadows. Though the blooming period is short, only a few weeks in May and June, the White Lady's Slipper is found throughout the Midwestern and Atlantic states. Learn More
  7. Life Along the Nile

    The Nile River was a source of water and life for the Ancient Egyptians. Examine a fishing net, papyrus paper, and other objects in this box to identify common themes of life along the Nile. Learn to operate a model of a shaduf, an ancient water-lifting device still in use today. Then, hold a debate about whether life in Ancient Egypt could have existed without the Nile River. Spanish language activity book and object cards are available upon request. Learn More
  8. Jute

    Transport yourself to India, where jute has been cultivated for centuries to produce coarse fabrics and twine. A long process of hydration and peeling is needed to bring the jute from its plant form to a usable material. Learn More
  9. Lacquer Ware

    Witness the magical, painstaking process that produces lacquerware. Made from the transparent sap of the lacquer tree and later colored with pigments, the practice of lacquering wood and ceramics has its origins in ancient Asia. Learn More
  10. Linoleum

    One person's waste is another's product! The waste from the manufacture of corkstoppers and other cork byproducts is used in the making of linoleum. Learn the process of how the material used to make your bulletin board is transformed into material used for your kitchen floor! Learn More

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