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Making a Herbarium

© Alexsander S. Bogolyubov, Nadejda S. Lazareva, Russia, 2002

© Michael J. Brody, USA, 2003

Making a HerbariumIn this manual we describe the guidelines for making a collection of herbaceous plants, specialized equipment and its use, procedures for collection, drying, assembly and storing herbaria, including herbaria of some complex groups of plants. Included is information on techniques for drying, making collections of fruits and seeds, mushrooms, mosses and lichens.

This field study has instructional video featuring real students conducting the ecological field techniques in nature. Each video illustrates the primary instructional outcomes and the major steps in accomplishing the task including reporting the results.

Why should students make a herbarium?

We consider it important for students to have hands-on experience with herbariums when they:

make a list of plant species found within a certain area,

determine "areals" (areas of growth) of species,

identify ecological preferences of species,

study peculiarities of species, for instance, their geographical or environmental variability and when they

describe new species.

Please take into consideration that a herbarium is not always made according to all of the guidelines described here. A working herbarium can change in relation to the objectives of the field activity. For example, only the necessary parts of plants may be collected, such as leaves or flowers. Other botanical collections may also be compiled, such as leafless branches of trees or seeds.

There are not many places on this planet left untouched by human activities, so almost any plant species can be eliminated through excessive collection. We recommend that students learn how to make herbaria using prolific species and abundant plants. While collecting plants, make sure that the specimens you want to pick up are not the only ones around.

Do not collect rare plants unless absolutely necessary! If you decide to make a herbarium of rare plants you should follow these rules:

Do not dig out a whole perennial plant, a part of one sprout is usually enough;

Collect annual plants after seed dissemination;

Prior to collection make sure that the plant is not the only one in the area.

Before starting a botanical study with students, you should explain the specific objectives of the activity and collection techniques in full detail so that students do not focus on and collect only beautiful plants.

How to collect plants for a herbarium

Essential equipment should be prepared before the collection of herbarium begins: 1) herbarial net with a string; 2) herbarial folder; 3) digger; 4) paper for lining; 5) paper for labels; 6) knife; 7) filter paper; 8) cotton cloth.

The herbarial net is designed for the prolonged drying of plants. It consists of two wooden frames with transverse crossbars and a net that is stretched on them (Picture 1). The frame size is approximately 35 cm x 50 cm. The frame can be made without crossbars, although in this case, the net will wear out quickly and plants will be not be as spread out they could be. A strong cord is required for tightening the herbarial net; it should be about 3.5 m long.

A herbarial folder is required for the collection of plants in the course of an excursion. Its size is about the same as the herbarial net. It consists of two veneer boards, thin plywood or strong cardboard, where a string or small straps run through the hole (Picture 2). It can be tightened or tied up and have a handle in order to make it easier to carry.

Paper linings are necessary in order to interlay plants chosen for the herbarium. Any highly absorbent paper can be used for these purposes, although newspapers work very ...

 

This was only the first page from the manual and its full version you can see in the

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set:

It is possible to purchase the complete set of 40 seasonal Ecological Field Study Materials (video in mpg + manuals in pdf formats) in an attractive 4 compact disk set. These compact disks are compatible with Mac and PC computers. The teacher background information and manuals can be printed out for easy reference. The videos are suitable for individual student or whole class instruction. To purchase the complete 4CD set write a request to the authors (in a free form).

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set

Some of these manuals you can also purchase in the form of applications for Android devices on Google Play.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk:

We also have a free and interesting demonstration disk that explains our ecological field studies approach. The demo disk has short excerpts from all the seasonal field study videos as well as sample text from all the teacher manuals. The disk has an entertaining automatic walk through which describes the field study approach and explains how field studies meet education standards.

You can also download the Demo Disc from ecosystema.ru/eng/eftm/CD_Demo.iso. This is a virtual hybrid (for PC and Mac computers) CD-ROM image (one 563 Mb file "CD_Demo.iso"). You can write this image to the CD and use it in your computer in ordinary way. You also can use emulator software of virtual CD-ROM drive to play the disk directly from your hard disk.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk

 

Other Ecological Field Studies Instructive Manuals:

Autumn Season

  1. Orienteering in the Forest
  2. Procedure of the Geological Exposure Description
  3. Plotting a Profile of a River Valley Slope
  4. Simple Procedure of Soil Description
  5. Assessment of the Vital State of a Forest Based on Pine-tree Analysis
  6. Study of Species Composition and Number of Fungi
  7. Study of Species Composition and Census of Birds Using the Line Transect-counting Method
  8. Integrated Study Based on Landscape Profile
  9. Complex Environmental Assessment of Human Impact on an Area
  10. Assessment of Air Pollution by Lichen Indication Method

Winter Season

  1. Making a Campfire
  2. Simple “Eye” Survey of the Field Study Site
  3. Study of Growth Dynamics of Trees Based on Annual Rings
  4. Mapping Forest Vegetation
  5. Green Plants Under Snow
  6. Methods of Observation of a Chickadee Flock's Territorial Behavior
  7. Procedure of Winter Mammals Route Census by Footprints
  8. Study of Mammal Ecology According to Their Tracks
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties of Natural Waters
  10. Study of Snow Cover Profile

Spring Season

  1. Let's Help Birds!
  2. Study of the Ecology of Early Flowering Plants
  3. Phenology of Plant Florescence
  4. Assessment of the Vital State of Coniferous Underbrush
  5. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part I: Forest Litter, Wood)
  6. Studies of Species Composition and Abundance of Amphibians
  7. Studying Minerals and Rocks in Your Area
  8. Studies of the Day Activity of Singing Birds
  9. Studies of Bird Populations Size by Different Methods
  10. Study of Fauna of Spring Temporary Water Bodies

Summer Season

  1. Making a Herbarium
  2. The Study of Plants in Your Local Environment
  3. Study of the Vertical Structure of a Forest
  4. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part 2: Grass Layer, Tree Crowns and Air)
  5. Study of Birds’ Nesting Life
  6. Complex Comparative Description of Small Rivers and Streams
  7. The Study of Water Invertebrates in a Local River and Assessment of Its Environmental State
  8. Study of Plankton
  9. Assessment of Ecological Features of Meadows on the Base of Vegetation Cover
  10. Assessment of Environmental State of the Forest Based on Leaves’ Asymmetry



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