Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Stories. Timelines. Visual data. Photosynthesis. Botanical art.

You’ll find them all in Historical Plant Studies: Tools for Enhancing Students’ Understanding of Photosynthesis by Dr. Stephen Thompson, professor of science education at the University of South Carolina.

Using the 5E learning model, Thompson helps students connect with scientists who, centuries ago, worked diligently to explain the source of plant matter.
Thompson (2014) prepares historical accounts of their studies and assigns one scientist to each student group in his class. Thompson’s students learn about the research of Jan Baptista van Helmont (1649), John Woodward (late 1600s) and Stephen Hales (1727), Joseph Priestly (1770s), Jan Ingenhousz (1790s) and Nicolas-Theodore de Saussure (1804).

After reading about the contributions made by their respective scientist, each student group begins the task of preparing an informational poster featuring their scientist’s hypothesis, materials and methods, results and conclusions.
Thompson (2014) encourages students to create their posters using mostly visual information and only the amount of text necessary to explain key information.

When completed, student posters are placed along a historical timeline and are presented in chronological order. As students present their poster,
Thompson (2014) gently corrects student misconceptions. Students are then asked to create a graphic organizer summarizing each study and are asked to draw models and write a description for one of the studies (Thompson, 2014). Thompson uses the drawing and writing exercise as an assessment tool to evaluate student understanding.

Photosynthesis is not an easy concept to grasp. Fortunately, Thompson (2014) makes this topic easy to understand and easy to teach, thanks to him sharing his written passages with fellow teachers. Get a copy of Historical Plant Studies and you’ll be ready to try this activity yourself and be ready to help students tell the story of how plants make food.

Thompson (2014) can be purchased online for 99¢ from the NSTA Science Store. You can also look for this article at your local college library.

Literature Cited

Thompson, Stephen. 2014. Historical plant studies: Tools for enhancing students’ understanding of photosynthesis. Science Scope. 37(6): 43-53

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Earth Day at Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum

The Earth Day celebration at Gilman Ranch is less than two weeks away. You are invited to come out to the ranch on April 12, 2014 to participate in fun family activities, learn about the Gilman family, visit the wagon museum, learn about the environment and listen to presentations by guest speakers. Click on the image to download the new color flyer.

Share the flyer with friends, family and your favorite teachers and librarians.

Who will be at the ranch? Take a look!

Educational Exhibitors

  • View a hybrid vehicle from the South Coast Air Quality
    Management District.
  • Learn about fire fighting history with the Fire Memories Museum.
  • Discover local wildlife with Hidden Valley Nature Center.
  • Learn about composting with Riverside County Waste Management.
  • “Leave No Trace” Outdoor Ethics with the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Discuss local conservation efforts with the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District.
  • Discover eco-friendly pest control solutions by ECOSKAN Pest Solutions.
  • Find out how the Western Riverside Council of Governments strengthens communities in western Riverside county.
  • Get to know the Banning Community Advisory Committee

Family Fun Activities

  • Newspaper Pots (seeds and soil donated by Cherry Valley Nursery)
  • Accidental Foods & Potato Sack Race
  • Go on a tour of the Gilman ranch house
  • Enjoy a short walk on the nature trail (~ 1 mile)


  • Inland Solar
  • My Tickle Bee Beauty (soaps, oil, bath and body)
  • SunnysideLOCAL Produce and Nursery (jams and prepared foods)
  • Sew Hot Mommies (crocheted, sewn, and hand-crafted items)
  • ArtPlantae (books and supplies about plants, environment, art)


  • Big Dev’s BBQ

  • Community Survey

    Would you like to see a community garden in Banning? Come to the ranch and let your voice be heard.

    Guest Speakers

    • Dr. Mark Hoddle, Center for Invasive Species, UC Riverside
    • Jan Kielmann, 123 Farm, Cherry Valley (medicinal plants)
    • Tania Marien, ArtPlantae, Riverside (The Ambonese Herbal)

    Schedule subject to change

    Earth Day at Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum

    Saturday, April 12, 2014
    9 AM – 3 PM

    Adults (walk-in) $3
    Children $2
    Dogs $1

    Directions to Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum

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    Click, Download, Share!

    Click, Download, Share!

    Celebrate Earth Day and learn about the history of the San Gorgonio Pass at Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum.

    You are invited to the Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Festival hours are 9 am – 3 pm. Attend fascinating presentations by guest speakers, participate in fun family activities and learn about solar energy, composting and how to care for the environment while enjoying nature.

    Tania Marien will introduce visitors to Georgius Everhardus Rumphius (1627-1702), the naturalist who spent 50 years gathering information about the native plants of Ambon, an island in Indonesia. Rumphius’ detailed plant descriptions and illustrations were used to create The Ambonese Herbal. Produced before Linnaeus’ classification system, the English translation of this historic herbal was published in 2011. Learn about the work of this 17th-century naturalist and how information from this herbal is being applied to modern medicine. After this presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to view all six volumes of The Ambonese Herbal at ArtPlantae’s InterpretPlants Station.

    Have lunch at Gilman Ranch and enjoy presentations by:

    • 10:00 AM – Tania Marien, ArtPlantae
    • 11:30 AM – Dr. Mark Hoddle, Center for Invasive Species Research, UC Riverside
    • 1:00 PM – Faith Riley, Riley’s Stone Soup Farm

    While at the ranch, be sure to visit ArtPlantae to learn about the botany behind the herbs and spices used in the cookbook, Hungry for History: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Food, History and Legends in the Pass. This one-of-a-kind cookbook will be available for purchase at the Wagon Museum.

    Download a flyer, Share it with friends

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    The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley will host a special exhibition about plant-based fibers and dyes. The exhibition, Fiber & Dye, opens on Thursday, March 6 and continues through Sunday, March 23, 2014. The exhibit is free with garden admission.

    Garden visitors have many opportunities to learn about plant fibers and dyes this month. Here is a look at the wonderful schedule of classes:

    • Chemistry of Dyes – March 8
    • Resist Dyeing Techniques with Kristine Vejar – March 9, 2013
    • Colors from Nature (Family Program) – March 15
    • Pine Needle Basketry – March 16
    • Film Viewing + 1,2,3 Indigo Vat Demo with Slow Fiber Studios – March 18
    • Plant Color Extractions for Cosmetics – March 22
    • Creating Pigments and Paints from Plants – March 23

    View course descriptions and register on the Garden’s website.


    EcoLiteracy Curriculum Emphasizes Plant Restoration, Natural Dyes

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    Dust jacket and book

    Dust jacket and book, © 2014 Lydia Inglett, Ltd, All rights reserved

    Lydia Inglett, Ltd. Publishers announces the release of American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic.

    This book features 60 original works of juried art from 40 artists, including text describing each plant, how each plant is beneficial to gardeners and/or the environment and paintings of insect pollinators and their relationship to the plants.

    The original paintings will be on display at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.,February 15 through June 15, 2014. Botanical Artists for Education and the Environment produced this book and is funded solely through donations. Profits will go to nonprofit organizations working on native plant education, conservation and horticulture.

    Lydia Inglett, CEO of the publishing company, is a woman with Lydia-Inglett-publisherenormous experience in art, advertising and publishing. Her design and print studios create the highest quality in elegant, thoughtful books. She has designed and published over 150 books for her clients, three of which won USA best book awards in 2013. She has launched many magazines for both artists and businessmen. She was art director and creative services director for Morris Communications Corporation before starting her publishing company. Her love of art, combined with her love of paper and engraving come together in her published books.

    In 2010 Lydia Inglett taught an online class for ArtPlantae in which she discussed how books are published.

    About Lydia Inglett, Ltd.

    Lydia Inglett, Ltd. has offices on Hilton Head Island in the U.S. and at The Cube in London, England. In addition to providing a suite of publishing services, it manages Starbooks, a subsidiary of Inglett Publishing.

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    TheGoldenAgeOfBotanicalArt Drawing

    These are some of the techniques botanists and artists use to document plants. Each executed with a keen eye for observation and a steady hand. What we know about plants today would not be possible if it weren’t for the botanists, explorers, doctors, artists and observers who came before us. Many centuries before us.

    A new book about the contributions made by these passionate educators was finally released in the United States. The stories of these brave, creative and hard-working souls are shared in The Golden Age of Botanical Art, a wonderful history book by Martyn Rix that is sure to be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in natural history art.

    This book is filled with fascinating history and stories about famous and not-so-famous people, many of whom I learned about for the first time. Rix cross-references people, places and events throughout his book and while this helps readers form a big picture of history, it makes summarizing a challenge.
    Allow me to give you a quick tour of each section.

    The Origins of Botanical Art

      • Learn why botanical illustrations were created. Also learn about

    ancient herbals

      • , flower painting during the Renaissance, Leonardo di Vinci, Albrecht Durer, woodcuts, the Turkish Empire, English herbals and why the paintings of Jacopo Ligozzi (1547-1626) were better than anyone who came before him.

    Seventeenth-Century Florilegia

    Learn about the plants brought to Europe by travelers and naturalists and how the work of botanical illustrators contributed to the development of botany.

    North American Plants

    Learn about the introduction of North American plants into English gardens and learn about the work of artists and botanists such as John Tradescant the Younger, Mark Catesby, John and William Bartram, Andre & Francois Michaux, Georg Dionysius Ehret and Carl Linnaeus.

    Travelers to the Levant

    European interest in Asia and the Ottoman Empire is the focus of this section. Botanists and painters receiving special attention are Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, Claude Aubriet, John Sibthorp, and Maria Sibylla Merian.

    The Exploration of Russia & Japan

    Learn about botanical expeditions into Russia and Japan. View images from Flora Rossica, Flora Japonica and learn about a collection of paintings on vellum started by botanist and naturalist, Gaston d’Orleans.

    Botany Bay & Beyond

    Learn about expeditions into Australia, the work of artists Sydney Parkinson and Ferdinand Bauer and the scientific contributions of Sir Joseph Banks.

    The Golden Age in England

    Learn how the Royal Gardens at Kew began and view beautiful plant studies such as the study of Pinus larix by Ferdinand Bauer and the graceful Galeandra devoniana, an orchid by Miss Sarah Anne Drake who was John Lindley’s chief artist.

    South American Adventures

    Expeditions into Spain and the amazing collections of work produced from these expeditions are the focus of this section.

    The Golden Age in France

    Learn about Gerard van Spaendonck (Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s teacher), Redouté and Empress Josephine in this section.

    Botanical and Horticultural Illustrated Journals

    Learn about the history surrounding illustrated journals such as Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, The Botanical Register and others.

    Early Chinese Plant Drawings

    Learn about the type of botanical art created in China before the Europeans arrived.

    The Company School in India

    Learn about the work of Indian artists, English artists and the publications produced during the time when the East India Company controlled trade in the East Indies.

    A New Era at Kew

    More history about Kew and how this world-famous garden was established.

    Victorian Travelers

    An introduction to the botanical contributions made by artists Janet Hutton, Lt. General John Eyre, Charlotte Lugard, Charlotte Williams, Marianne North and Henry John Elwes.

    Bringing China to Europe

    This section is about the introduction of Chinese plants into European gardens.

    The Flowers of War and Beyond

    Rix discusses the history of botanical illustration during World War II. Learn what botanist Geoffrey Herklots did while in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and what Marianne North’s great nephew did after retiring as an Admiral from the Navy in 1960. Artists Margaret Mee, Barbara Everhard, Graham Stuart Thomas, Rory McEwen and Raymond Booth are also mentioned.

    Rix closes his book discussing the work of contemporary botanical artists and by bringing attention to those making key contributions to the current renaissance of botanical art, namely instructor Anne Marie Evans and, of course, botanist and art collector Shirley Sherwood.

    In the introduction to his book, Rix thinks aloud and wonders if what we are observing now in the world of botanical art is a new golden age. He explains that the period between 1750-1850 was considered a golden age because the demand for scientific information collided with the enthusiasm of wealthy patrons and with the availability of skilled artists capable of documenting new discoveries.

    Today he wonders if the need to preserve disappearing habitat, combined with an abundance of botanical artists and the technological means to create botanical works faster and at a lower cost will create a new golden age even though there is a growing shortage of botanists.

    What do you think?


    Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” to Become Illuminated Manuscript

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    Mandrake. Image courtesy of M. Moleiro Editor, S.A., all rights reserved

    Mandrake. Image courtesy of M. Moleiro Editor, S.A., all rights reserved

    The historic Tractatus de Herbis, codex Sloane 4016 can now be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the history of botany, botanical illustration or the history of medicinal plants.

    The new facsimile reproduction has been published by Spanish publisher Moleiro Editorial whose specialty is the reproduction of codices, maps and works of art made on parchment, vellum, paper and papyrus between the 8th and 16th centuries.

    The reproduction of Tractatus de Herbis features 218 illuminated pages and is bound in embossed dark green leather. It is an exact replica of the original and is accompanied by a volume of commentary written by Alain Touwaide, Smithsonian scholar and co-founder of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions.

    Institute co-founder, Emanuela Appetiti, explains the significance of this historic work:

    The manuscript Sloane 4016 is a large album of botany made sometime around 1440 in Italy. Although it is traditionally identified as a copy of the well-known Tractatus de herbis (Treatise on medicinal plants), it does not contain the text of this treatise, but only its illustrations. The major question posed by this manuscript is why it abandoned the text of the Tractatus, giving birth to the new genre of the botanical album. Significantly enough, the captions of the illustrations provide the names of the plants in the different languages used in the 15th century, all written with the Latin alphabet, however. They hint at the function of the botanical album as an international work that could be used by all the different linguistic groups, whereas the text of the Tractatus could be used only by those who understood Latin. In this view, the development of the botanical album is an unsuspected very modern phenomenon that sheds a completely new light on the history of botanical illustration and highlights a process of internationalization and, at the same time, of linguistic specialization coupled with a principle of economy that had not been uncovered so far.

    Alain Touwaide explains more about the history of botanical albums in the description of the Tractatus de herbis, codex Sloan 4016 viewable on the publisher’s website.

    Also available for viewing are 18 images showing the contents of this album. After reading Alain’s description, click on one of the images above his text. This will take you to a page where you can view all sample images.

    Only 987 copies of this historic album are available for purchase worldwide. Alain’s commentary has been published in separate editions available in English, Spanish and French. To inquire about purchasing this limited edition reproduction at a special discounted price, contact the publisher.

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