August 2, 2013
Dr. Stowe’s Field Botany class is designed to introduce students to different species of plants, particularly those native to Florida. While this course is offered in the academic year, the longer summer class sessions afford the opportunity to get out there and explore. This class took full advantage, taking several field trips around the area. This gave the students a chance to identify different plants in their natural environment, and it also illustrated how much the types of plants can vary even within a short distance, depending on climate and soil. For instance, Leesburg is sandier than nearby Eustis, which has more clay and is a somewhat wetter environment. It is for this reason that the group spent several hours at Trout Lake Nature Center, exploring the trails. A tour was conducted by Lavon Silvernell, the director of the Center, with Dr. Stowe sharing his knowledge. Students were especially excited for this trip as they could see some life forms that they have particular interest in; most notably, insects and water plants. The group was challenged to identify plants they had learned about, while also learning about some new ones and enjoying the fresh outdoor air.