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Monday - March 16, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: School project picking wildflowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have a Biology PreAp class in our high school that has their students do a wildflower project each year. The teacher gives the students a list of 25 wildflowers and the children have to locate, pick and press dry flowers that later are turned in as a project. I am concerned because the students are out pulling flowers from "everywhere" with no respect to locations. We as parents will be driving miles to try and locate the flowers in order to support our children. Are all wildflowers free for the picking? I think parents that are driving need to be educated as well.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants had a similar questiion a few weeks ago about a school project that requires the students to collect wildflowers.  Please see the answer to that question.  While there are laws prohibiting collection of plants in preserves and parks, there are really not any laws prohibiting the picking of wildflowers per se anywhere else.  There are, or course, trespass laws that may come into affect if the picking is done on private land; and, parking and collecting along highways could result in a citation for illegal parking or creating a traffic hazard.  In Mr. Smarty Plants' opinion, sending the students out to photograph the flowers on the list is a much better option.  Photographing in a preserve or park is NOT prohibited and there are usually a wealth of different plants to be found in these locations.  Not only does the student learn about the wildflowers and the areas where they grow, but they will gain some expertise in photography as well.  It is amazing what wonderful photographs very inexpensive digital or film cameras can make.  Perhaps you could suggest to the teacher that this would be an option for his/her next wildflower project.
 

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