I had the honor of teaching classes for a local high school's JROTC program this week. A common thread that came up was choice edibles versus survival edibles, which fit in quite neatly with the curriculum that is currently focused on survival.
We explored common yard "weeds" for identifying, edibility & medicinal uses. Focusing on early spring greens, we delved into some common & invasive ones for our area; Henbit, purple dead nettle, chickweed, plantain and one with many look-alikes worth noting - parsley.
It was encouraging to see the level of interest & even more so that several had some exposure/experience with foraging in some form whether it was from scouts or self-exploration on their family land.
During our walk about the school's wooded area, we identified & discussed smilax, blackberry, poison ivy, violets, hairy bittercress, thistles, Carolina geranium, pine & acorns. Conversations carried us into discussing bamboo, kudzu and local mushrooms.
As we walked dodging rain drops, we talked about similarities & differences between smilax & blackberries, edibility & medicinal uses.
As we walked the school's wooded trail, we discussed what pulled the students attention with thistles, violets, acorns & pines.
To wrap up classes, I raffled off travel friendly first-aid kits and we discussed the plants used & their benefits. The students had great observations & questions, shared experiences with foraging and survival uses for plants.