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Mindfulness in Nature: Plant Identification


 
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Identifying Plants and Fungi

identifying-plants-1.jpgEngaging in plant and fungus identification provides new opportunity for noticing, learning, appreciating and growing familiar with the world around us. This process encourages us to pause and see our surrounding with new eyes. If we’re all being made to slow down anyway right now, why not take the opportunity to notice the things worthy of noticing in our stillness? Instead of staring at your TV or phone screen for another ∞ hours, give your poor eyeballs a rest, step outside and start looking up, down and around!

There are many ways to go about this… but the first step is to head outside and think of where you might like to spend some time walking and exploring. Here’s how you might go about the rest:

 

  • Searching
    • Start walking with the intention of noticing in a new and more intentional manner. You have never seen this place before (even if you have)…
    • When you come upon a new plant/fungus that sparks your interest, stop to get a closer look.

  • Noticing
    • Take time to notice the different leaf patterns, textures, sheen, shade and spacing.
    • Is the plant/fungus on its own or does it grow in a cluster?
    • What do the stems look like? Long and stalky? Twisty and vine-like? Any thorns or other textures?
    • Any flowers or buds? What colors, markings and shapes do you notice? How many petals is each flower made up by?
    • If it’s a tree, what does the bark look like (color, texture, pattern)? How do the branches connect and spread? How tall does it stand?
    • Can you smell anything?
    • Where is it growing? What kind of environment surrounds it?

  • Identifying
    • Picture-This.pngSome enjoy noticing plants/fungi as they go, making their best guesses and then looking them up right then.
    • Others might want to take a picture of the plant/fungus to look up later, or maybe you’re artistic and would enjoy bringing a sketch pad to record some detailing of what you see.
    • There are even phone apps such as Picture This that allow you to take pictures of plants and tjey will be identified and described on the spot within the app!

 

You may be surprised by how much you don’t know about the common plants that you’re used to seeing in your everyday life… or maybe you’ll be surprised by how much you already do know! Either way, give it a try, going solo or bringing a family member or friend along to share your new discoveries with.

 

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*Important Note*

When identifying new plants or fungi, refrain from touching or eating anything that you cannot confidently identify. Chances are that it’s most likely harmless, but there are several species of plants/fungi in our region that are toxic to humans if ingested and may cause serious irritation at the very least!

 


To encourage you all to get outside and connect with nature, the Counseling Center’s Mindfulness in Nature outreach group will be posting weekly on Fridays with new activities inviting you (and your friends and family) to mindfully engage with nature in news ways. Our hope is that these activities would help facilitate renewed joy, peace, connection and creativity in your lives.

 We hope that you take some time over the next few weeks to try out one or a few of our suggestions and/or get out in nature any way that you might already enjoy! 

 

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Published: Thursday, June 11, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2020

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