Second Saturdays: Native plant uses

This past Second Saturdays event, the Ameal Moore Nature Center discussed uses of native plants.  Humans use plants for a variety of purposes, including medicine, clothing, dyes, tools, and furniture.  On June 9th the nature center invited visitors to explore two different uses of plants: dyeing and weaving.

The morning of the event, the center prepared a bright purple dye made with a red cabbage.  Various plants can be boiled down to create dyes in a multitude of colors.  Though not a native plant within the park, the red cabbage was used because it provides such a vibrant array of colors.  By adding white vinegar to the dye, the center produced a bright pink, and by adding baking soda, the center produced a teal green.

Visitors were invited to dip dye strings into the jars of dye before using them to create necklaces and bracelets.  While visitors worked, they learned about the dye process, the various kinds of dyes, and the possible colors.

The left over dye was used to dye wool yarn that the center will use for future crafts.  Creating plant dyes is a fun, inexpensive, and easy project that can be done in the home and enjoyed by the entire family!

In addition to dyes, the center also talked about basket weaving.  Special guest Blossom, a weaver who educates others on the art, tradition, and joys of weaving, attended the event and shared her knowledge with visitors.  Plants can be soaked and used to create wonderful baskets that have been used for collection, food preparation, and decoration.  The Cahuilla peoples used them to cook in with heated stones.  Some baskets were even used to carry water!  Visitors were able to sit and talk with Blossom as she walked them through how to create their own baskets.

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The nature center was happy to welcome visitors and looks forward to the next Second Saturdays event on June 13th when we focus on rattlesnakes!

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