We enjoyed a special Farmschool today led by our friend and neighbour Sheryl. Sheryl is a cracker of a lady - fierce and funny, smart and sassy, clever and kind. She also happens to be an expert on wetlands and salt marsh ecosystems and freely shared her vast knowledge with us Farmschoolers on all things 'mangrove'.
We learnt about these magnificent trees and their very special role in the river environment. From being a nursery for 80% of the creatures that inhabit the water to filtering out salt and pollutants, the mangroves are integral to the health of the whole ecosystem. They have funky seeds who have perfectly adapted to fall from the tree viveperous ('alive'), float on the water and grow very quickly when they find mud.
We wandered along the rivers edge, marvelling at the pneumatophores ('carry breath') sticking out of the mud like craggy little snorkels. We tasted the leaves which exude salt which the plant can't use. We looked at flowers and air roots and the beautiful bendy shapes of the mangroves' trunks and branches.
We adventured along, crossing a narrow bridge and climbing over a fence - all in the name of education ;)
We also examined a patch of highly endangered samphire.
The whole botany lesson was peppered with fascinating Aboriginal history and bush tucker.
And wonderful questions.
And enlightening answers.
And interesting conversations.
And children falling in love with plants.
Respect to the mighty mangroves!! We are so lucky to have this unique ecosystem in our backyard, and such wonderful members of our community willing to share their knowledge in our backyard too!
I have to give kudos to the kids as well. They were totally involved and present and even enthusiastic about their 'worksheets' at the end.
Love these Farmschoolers!