Engaging in Science with Abbey Palmer

May 22, 2020

MSU Extension Cabin Fever Conversations featuring Engaging in Science with Abbey Palmer.

Cabin Fever Conversations help connect you to your garden and fellow gardeners, even when we are stuck inside during the long Michigan winters. Each weekly session featured a conversation to help get your mind outside and into the garden, highlighting the passion and wisdom of featured speakers.

More resources and recordings to other sessions are available on the Cabin Fever Conversations website.

Video Transcript

[Abby H] Welcome to today's Cabin Fever Conversation. My name is Abby Harper. I'm one of the co-hosts. I'm an MSU Extension Community Food Systems Educator based in Lansing, Michigan. And my co-host is Isabel, Hi everybody, I'm Isabel. I am one of the Consumer Horticulture Educators based out of Ingham County, And today we have Abby Palmer, who is one of our colleagues up in the UP. (Upper Peninsula) Abby is an extension educator at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center. And she's here to talk about engaging in science in the garden, whether that be engaging your kiddos or yesterday when we were talking, anyone with a sense of adventure, engaging them in the garden. So Abbey, we're really happy to have you here. And I want to start off by asking, where did your enthusiasm for bringing science into the garden start? [Abbey P.] That's a really distant memory. I had to think back on that one. When I was little, like maybe many of you listening, my mom brought me out into the garden with her. I find that a lot of us who are lifelong Gardner's really did start as kids because there was this intergenerational element of our parents bringing us out in the garden just because it's such a pleasant place to be and because they had work to do out there and they needed a place to kinda have a nearby for supervision. I'd like to introduce Rainbow, the parrot. She is a Sun Conure. She's joining us for this call today as a little extra introduction of nature, a little injection of nature because she has a very loud scream. And there's a lot going on in my household today and I thought she might be quieter if she was with me. Hi Rainbow, Would you like to say hello to the people? No.... she's just going to play around. Anyway they're cavity nesters like woodpeckers, so they like confined dark spaces. At any rate, when I was a child, my mother took me out into the garden and instead of dissuading me from touching the plants, she taught me how to be gentle with them. And I think the first really scientific experience that I had in the garden was that I was eating different plants and one of them had a really particular flavor, like herb garden. And I asked my mom about the flame and she said, oh, that's tarragon. You can always tell what it is by how it smells and how it tastes. And I was probably three years old, and I remember this because I remember the flavor of Tarragon intensely licorice-y She sort of very green flavor that is just tarragon. So that's one of the first distinct flavors I remember. And the reason I say that this is how my enthusiasm for science in the garden got started, is that I view my body as one of the best instruments for conducting science that I've got. And maybe if I had a scanning electron microscope, I would defer to that thing because it would be So cool and you can see so many much smaller things, but I've got my body with me all the time and my different senses. And that's, that's how I get enthusiastic about science in the garden. I was speaking with a Seed Saver named Joseph Lofthouse and I was asking him, it's like Abby Harper. I'm also really into seed saving. I was asking him, well, what's the next book I should read about this? Like, is there some manual that somewhere between a plant breeder and a lay person. And he said, you don't really need a book. I think you need to walk through your garden and taste everything and save seeds from the things that you like. The taste of the best, use your body to tell you don't, you don't necessarily need an outside expert. Now, I'm also an extension educator, and I know that people look to extension for that expertise. To stay safe in the garden, to do things well, to avoid big mistakes that are going to make you feel dismayed or cost you money. So I'm not undermining the idea of the expert. Experts do have knowledge to share, but it's also fun to be your own expert. [Isabel} And I think making things relatable is always important, and especially for an engaging aspect. Choosing things you like is important because it kinda clicks. And that way. {Abby H.) I think it also speaks We're seeing so many first-time gardeners this year, I think by a combination of folks being interested in food security and also just having more time in their households. And I've noticed a lot of anxiety from some first-time gardeners of not knowing everything that they need to know to be successful. And I think that just speaks to like using your experience as your best teacher. You said, when you said you tasted something, I had a momentary panic of like, what did you eat? Cuz I know I've gone into the forest sometimes have been like, can I eat that? Can I eat that? And sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes there's some caution around. So I'm glad that was tarragon - that your mother was attentive enough to see what you think. But I think it just speaks to like getting in that garden is the best teacher. So I guess you spoke to this a little bit, but can you think about why you think it's so important to bring that science lens into your garden? [Abbey P.] Well, your gardens are a pretty fabulous laboratory. You have a bunch of different microclimates in your garden. You have many different species that have these fascinating histories of how they came to be our beloved foods or our beloved perennial flowers or, you know, everything there has a history. I think that bringing science into the garden means that you bring your full observational senses into the garden and that you think about it as a place where there's more yet to learn. I talked to a lot of people who have been gardening for many more years than me. And I'm always jealous of their years of experience and they say, Yeah, but I've still got a lot to learn. This is something you can never get to the bottom of. And when we bring science to a situation like that, I don't feel overwhelmed by the idea that I'll never get to the bottom of it. I feel excited about how much and how long I could explore the things that happened in the garden. [Isabel] Yeah, so this is going to be fun. And Abbey helped us start our day out today with some really great activities. So Can you share some of your favorite ways to bring science into the garden? So any highly successful activities or anything like that? [Abbey P.] Yeah, let's start inside because maybe a lot of us are inside and for a while during this whole stay home, stay safe. I was going for a walk once a day, but I was staying in the house a lot and my garden wasn't up yet. I'm in the Upper Peninsula, so we got no less than two weeks ago. And I know some places don't state it to you, but you can start thinking about your garden no matter where you're at. So we're inside together. What is the seed that is closest to you? You're in the house, maybe you're in your living room, maybe you're in your kitchen, maybe you're in your bedroom. Where could you find the nearest seed? And I guarantee you that there's one on the house. Even if you don't have a seed packet, [Isabel} I'm gonna go look in my fridge. [Abbey P.} Good idea. {Abby H.} I have seeds everywhere. I feel like no matter what I'm wearing, I find a, bean seed in a pocket. Because that's just sort of the first week we talked about seed saving. And I shared a lot about my beans And they, they always end up somewhere. So I've got this lovely Vermont Appaloosa Bean in close proximity. And then I also, for one of the other activities we'll talk about, brought in some dead dandelions and probably shouldn't have because now I'm surrounded by dandelion seeds. [Isabel} I found mustard. [Abbey P.] Very innovative. [Isabel} Mustard seeds [Abbey P.] Exactly. And maybe you've got rice, maybe you've got walnuts, maybe you've got, if we go even farther, bread or cereal, flour. All of these things are made from seeds. Seeds are a huge, huge, huge part of our lives. So when you find your seed, even if it's a poppy seed on an everything bagel, look at it as closely as you can. So Abby, look at your bean seed and the closer to its raw form, a seed, is the easier this is to do... Or maybe a sesame seed made, [Isabel} my mustard is not going to cut [Abbey P.] it...when the mustard shouldn't be cut, as opposed to what someone cuts the mustard looks, we promised hilarity. Okay. Abby, but how do you think that seed opens? Because every seat is a suitcase. A seed is a way for the plant to transport valuable, valuable genetic information, a whole libraries worth of information, to another place or another time to go through the year and to come and grow again the next year, or to be eaten by an animal or to be carried on the wind to go to another place to have its life. So your seat as a suitcase, Abby, how do you think it would open based on what you can tell? Uh-huh. You're muted love [Abby H.] There's the tiny belly button in the middle of the brown part. that you can see, and I know from germinating quite a few beans often in the darkness of soil. But that, that kind of opens up and the tiny seedling pops out of there. [Abbey P.] Yeah, it's like the bean has a little key. It's like a little spot. And that is part of the structure of the seed where opens. Isabel, your mustard seeds are brassicas and they're more, they're more difficult fortresses to understand because they look completely solid. When we crack them open to make mustard, we release a really potent flavor. But if I was just holding mustard seeds un-cracked, they probably wouldn't smell like anything. It's very strong. Very rigid case. Seeds are made of selenium. That is one of the things that gives them their strength, and it's one of the things that we sometimes lack and Michigan soils. And so if you're doing seed saving in your garden, adding alfalfa meal can help with that Selenium content to make a nice tough seed coat. But I got off topic. This is a bean seed, just like Abby's that I sprouted a couple of days ago. I'll actually more like about a week ago. And you could just use a cotton ball that you get wet, a bean seed, and any paper bag. And you can even use a bean like from the store. I've had luck with beans that I've purchased. This allows you to observe what usually happens. Like Abby said, under the mystery of the shroud of soil, the invisible magic of a seed beginning to sprout is something that you can then sort of see. You can see the root development, you can see the cotyledon leaves and you can see that these first true leaves are beginning. And this bean a very stretchy because it's been in a dark corner and so it's really reaching for the light. This can help you address all kinds of questions that you might have about plants. What does a seed need to germinate? What does a plant need to grow? And you might think soil. And eventually this plant is going to need a lot more nutrients than this cotton ball can provide. But all the energy that you see here, all of the things that are happening. This was all contained in this bean seed. It's beginning to photosynthesize. But until we had green leaves, we're just depending on what was in that seed. So that's kind of one sort of fun activity. And you can do lots of things with this. You can start several of them and you can put some in the dark and you can put some at a warm place and somebody cold place. And you can see what are the different factors that affect germination using stuff that you already have around the house. So could you also... [Isabel] Could you also use like moist paper towels if you don't have cotton balls. So any really like plastic bag and moist paper product. I guess. [Abby H} Wed did an event with kids where we turned them into necklaces you can wear them around your neck with this you could wear them around your neck and watch them germinate, which in office settings may not be appropriate office attire, but at home just wear your seed necklaces all around. And it's also a good way to test to see if your seeds are fresh enough to germinate this year, right? We talked about doing germination tests and they were talking about seed saving. So it's a great way to kind of test the atmosphere that you're saving seeds in and whether or not it's still supports see viability. You talked about a little bit about how this plays into your work at the North Farm. Can you share a little bit about what you do there? Yeah, absolutely. [Abbey P.] So the UP Research and Extension Center is located in Chatham between Marquette and Munising in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. And we are a research and extension center. So we are a research farm and a teaching and learning center. So we have K through 12. audiences...wait... That sounded really formal. We have school kids who come to visit the farm usually every spring and fall. And I'm used to seeing several 100 kids in the spring, and I didn't get to this year. We didn't have a chance to do our fun activities together on the farm. So I brought the full brunt of that frustrated energy here. And these are the activities that we do in groups when students come to visit the farm that are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, which are something that are also inquiry based. It's a way of teaching science that begins with observing a phenomenon and then sort of starting the process there and continuing instead of starting with the vocabulary words and then figuring out what it is those words are about Speaking of vocabulary... Should we talk about another activity? [Isabel, Abby H} Sure, yes! [Abbey P.] Alright, so this one, I've gotta give credit to Life Lab and to Whitney Cohen. It's a way to do a scavenger hunt. So it's called "Six of one; half a dozen of another" And it uses an egg carton so that you try to find things that correspond to this description. So on this side we would be looking for smooth things, and on this side we be looking for hairy things. And I went out into my yard and just from the weeds that are growing in my excuse for a lawn, I have like no turf. I found grass which is smooth, and I found dandelion, which was unexpectedly hairy toward the base. By getting down there and really looking, I was learning things about plants I thought I already knew. So for smooth, I found little clover. And for hairy, I found a piece of chick weed. So this can be a way to spend up to 20 minutes or even longer entertaining someone in the yard if that's something that you're looking to do and you can choose different words where appropriate. [Isabel} I spent my morning doing it. It was a while! [Abbie P.} I was going to say I was entertained for about 45 minutes this morning, so... And you can kinda scale the words, you know, if I was, I could say glaucous and hairy if I was working with older students, or older kids who were wanting to learn more about botany and plants identification. because those are the words for smooth and hairy, that you find in field guides and technical manuals that describe the anatomy of plants for identification. And the way we play it at the farm is we've got lots of these and people split up into teams. They go and find the items and then bring them back. And everyone else has to guess what those words were based on what is available to observe. So I think I'm ready, I'm ready to play. [Abby H} Can I go first? So I'll just share a couple of the things I found. So in category one, we have this sapling from a maple tree that reseeded. so this was helping me weed my garden this morning... And we have this bud from the lilac, because this was all I was willing to cut off of my lilac They are so beautiful. So this is a bud that has not quite emerged. So those are two things in the first category. And then in the second category we have these fully emerged lilac buds. We have this well past its prime, dandelion head that's resulted in dandelion seeds all over my desk. And I also have this, it's harder to show, this nice plot of well composted material that I have a compost bin, and this is from the bottom of it. There's stuff on the top that's not quite there yet, but this is my ready to use compost. Okay? And I will say that like I was using some practice from some GRE words that I haven't used in a really long time... So it's not necessarily the, you know, second grade series unless your 2nd grader has a more complex vocabulary than I do, which is possible. [Abbey P.] Ok. So my guess was beginning and end. So you're saying that's not what we're dealing with here. [Isabel] mine was new and old. [Abby H.] Kind of the ways I chose were "nascent" which means like just emerging and "mature". So some of the like seeds and things. And I was actually laughing this morning. I got my bean seed and I both wanted to put in bot "nascent" and "mature" because in one stage it's like just ready to emerge, but also the fruit, Once it's reached full maturity, produces this. So this was kind of like my meta and maybe this is why I've spent 45 minutes of a garden this morning. It's because I was just contemplating my bean seed and whether it was new or old, emergence, nascent or mature. [Abbey P.] That is beautiful, and also realizations that bring the joy, that bring me levity, that take me out of whatever doom and gloom disaster situation I'm imagining that take me away from the actual realities of how difficult adapting to the situation has become. And it brings you in touch with a bigger cycle of things, a bigger thoughts. That's beautiful. {Isabel} Okay, is it my turn? Okay. I have a plantain leaf that you guys can see feels nice without giving away the word. And then a newly emerged silver maple leaf and the outside of a poppy flower bud. Ok. And then I have bull thistle, which I'm going to hold like this and what's left of a thistle flower. And a thorn from a hawthorn. Okay! What are the guesses? They have the same category, huh? What is the divide? Im sorry. Poppy, leftover from the bud, the plantain leaf and the silver maple were all one. And then the bull thistle, this leftover flower and the thorn were in the other group, [Abby H.} I would guess prickly and soft, and Abbey what do you guess? [Abbey P.] Yep, I was also going to guess soft. [Abby H.} What's the word? "Prickly"?? [Isabel} Yeah. It was "prickly" and "soft". Good job! And I think Abbey, some other options he listed before were like biotic and abiotic or just depends on what sort of group you're working with. And like could be colors there. It could be, it's just an endless option of choosing opposites, right? Yeah. And you can have a whole stack of egg cartons and you can keep some kids busy for awhile with this one. If you have the excitement that you both brought to this activity and you enjoy guessing afterwards together. [Abby H.} I would say my excitement rivals that of many youth. [Abbey P.] So kids of all ages, that's my phrase. [Abby H.} So to that effect, I know you've worked with a lot of kids over the years and what are some of the impacts that you've seen on kids from engaging in this way in the gardens? [Abbey P.] You know, the first one is confidence and the second one is a willingness to explore. Because if I wouldn't have been raised in a garden, I would've thought that that.... (I wasn't raised in the garden... we had a house too!) If I wouldn't have been brought up gardening, I would assume that that border was like a wall and you're just not really supposed to cross it. It is a place that you don't get into and go into. But when you have a chance to start working in a garden, to start taking something that maybe looks chaotic and turn it into something productive. You gain a lot of confidence. You gain confidence in your physical strength, your ability to make change in the world that's visible to other people. And another great outcome I think, of working in the garden with youth. We've got a lot of hoop houses associated with schools in the Upper Peninsula, because that helps the school have more classroom time in the garden by having it in a season extension structure. And there are certain kids who their teachers say. Yeah, you know, it's really hard to engage in the classroom, but this student always wants to do the snow blowing. He always wants to use the snow blower. She always wants to be the one shoveling. So it gives different kinds of learners, people who get excited about different aspects, lots of different kinds of ways to interact. So I, you know, I really think that gardening has something for everyone. [Isabel] So are there any other activities that you may have? [Abbey P.] Now let's talk a little bit about plant life cycles. Okay, Abby, you spoke to this really beautifully with your idea that a plant's life both begins with the seed and results in a seed starts like this beautiful circle. I have these plant lifecycle cards there from Shelburne farms. Abcs of is it ABCs of agriculture Learning? At any rate, it's a resource that's online that we can share. Shelburne Farms has amazing resources for garden educators and they also host really great workshops. But there are these eight or nine lifecycle cards. And we could hand these out to a bunch of kids and say, put yourselves in order according to what happens first and what happens last. And you know, they might be dealing with, well, here's the pollinator. Can we get the fruits? Can we get the bean started before we have it pollinated? No. So first we have that conversation and then we say, I'd like you to go and find plants in three different phases of their life cycle. And we're going to use those plants to make a necroquet. Okay, we do this around Halloween. It's very creepy. This is the zombie of bouquets. It's a terrifying one. Very creepy, very creepy, but very cool thing to give to someone you love, maybe someone you like. So let's all sort of check out what phases of plant life cycles we were able to find in the spring. I know that there's some examples. This is a classic necroquet. in that it's a very small boutineer style. And I've got a hydrangea, some thyme or oregano, I'm not really sure. Like a seed pod, leftovers, a little tulip bud that this one was hard to pick because I was like but it was it was a sort of a runty one, and an iris leaf (bird squeals)... oh! The bird was very scared by this. (asks the bird)... you don't want this? This is not for you. Okay? I love you anyway, [Abby H.} I think I realized why I maybe spent too much time in the garden because I think I went for the "A! [Abbey P.] you have a great big, beautiful necroquet! [Abby H.} It's a little bit large boutineer! I got really excited because I found these really cool grasses that we've been cutting back so that the new growth can come, but they look pretty wild. And, and these are actually, I think they've already dropped their seeds. So it's just kinda like the skeletal remains. And then I've got some other skeletal remains of some of my bee balm from last year. And I think this is a hydrangea one. And then I found the fully robust ones. But I think I had a hard time picking that in-between stage of the bloomed because it's just too hard to get rid of. { Isabel} And I found a lot of skeletons on my walk. I had no problem cutting some honeysuckle flowers and some field penny crest that has some seeds in it. And I don't know if you can. Sometimes when you hold it up to the light, it's a lot easier to see the little like pouches of seeds. But you guys can see the little pouches. So skeletons, flowers, and then seed producing stages. [Abbey P.] I just think it's so cool. Did it change the way you looked at that landscape? Maybe it was your yard, a place you've been looking at all the time or maybe it was a park across the street somewhere that you see what happened when you brought this different lens to that space? [Abby H.} So I'll say, for me, my garden has, I have the area where we're planting vegetables and then we've got this around the house. We recently moved into this house. So this is the first spring that we're experiencing some of it and I've really been looking at it as that, like that's the thing that I have to get to and clean. It's the dead stuff. It's not pleasant to look at. And so I think it just gave me a different insight. into what beauty can be in the garden and to shifting our focus from my a chore to like something that I can explore, understand as part of the natural cycle of my garden. [Isabel] yeah! and I think I went, out walking in an area where I usually go walking. Over the winter, I was kinda like admiring the skeletons and I've been trying to do that, but I just really liked the penny crest because it can be considered a weed, but it just looks so wonderful in this arrangement. I'm like, that's kind of a fun plant! So I think it shifted my perspective in that way [Abbey P.] and it brought art into life for just a little while, where you were just focused on the aesthetics of something rather than its value. Because the skeleton of a plants in my garden, it might have value to the soil microbes, but it doesn't usually have a lot of value to me until I start looking at it as the architecture for some part of a larger arrangement. So I stopped looking at it as what it was and I saw its shape instead. [Isabel} There was one question that came in. You call it a necroquet? Maybe if you want to touch on that a little bit. Yeah. So necro like the word for dead and quet - "the bouquet" It is a portmanteau word, So I've just made up what would a dead bouquet be called? And then I made it a dead mini-bouquet for the purposes of giving students a very specific thing that they could make gifts to one another, take away from the farm. But honestly, the origin of the word actually came from Rock River Farm now that I'm remembering it, which is a flower farm in the Upper Peninsula. And one day we were just having fun arranging flowers and started putting some skeletons. We keep calling them skeletons in it We were just joking around. It came up with the word necroquet Okay. So I'm glad you asked because I actually had forgotten that the word is rooted in camaraderie and community, which is another thing. I've been living in my memory a little bit during this stay home, stay safe period and thinking a lot about times when I could gather with friends and when there were a bunch of us together, I know a lot of people have been going through their old photographs in order to get access to that. And it's like our memories are our internal jewelry. There's something that is ours and that people can't take away from us, that we have to look at and get out and sort of play with whenever we want. And I think writers do that. I think a lot of different artists are aware of that. But I know I've been living in my memory a little more than I normally would lately. And there's some twinges of sadness that come with that. And then there's also some, some twinges of joy. Whenever I think the worst thing I try also to think the best thing just to counterbalance it. [Isabel} Like pokey and soft. it's reflected in the garden. So Abbey. Do you have any other easy ways that gardeners can become a scientist in their own garden? [Abbey P.} That's beautiful (lauging) I was trying to get her to sit on a chair. The flight of Rainbow. What are some ways that people can be a scientist in the garden? I think that bringing your full observing senses into the garden is one thing you can do. So I think of this as a sitting spot. It is a place where I can go and do a sense meditation that's very close to my back door or my front door. It can't be like, you know, three miles away. I can't get in the car. I probably shouldn't even need to ride my bike to. It should be someplace that I can access very easily where I can sit. And it doesn't have to be wild. It can be a place where I feel like I can focus and observe. So it could be a bench, it could be a step, it could be a spot under a tree, it could be a curb. That eye looks at something that I think is interesting. So once I'm in that sitting spot, I want to try to think about bringing my energy in. So if think about a stone that's cast into a pond and all the concentric circles that open up, I'm putting out those concentric circles in a way. And if I think about getting really quiet and pulling those circles back in, some things might start to happen that wouldn't usually a bird might land a little closer than that. We'd normally think, I'm thinking like a house sparrow, but I've got this contour on me. Or an ant's might start marching across, my foot's some small thing, might get a little closer than it normally would because I'm just sitting there quietly and you can do a sense meditation where you say, I'm going to take a couple deep breaths. And then I'm going to name a five things that I see. Going to name four things that I hear, three things that I can feel or touch to, things that I can smell. One thing that I can taste, you can play with that. But start with the number five. And I'm just kinda go through your senses and really tune into this place and sitting in this place a few times a week or every day, if you can, you'll really notice how things change and those life cycles that are taking place around you, whether that's in the plants, are in the insects, or the animals, or the weather, or even your neighbors, you'll start to learn a lot. And I think that this goes back to one of my favorite sayings, don't just do something, sit there because when we go out into the garden, we I often have an agenda. I've identified which tools I'm going to take with me. I've got my gloves, I'm harvesting something for dinner. And going to the garden with an agenda is really different than going to the garden to just hang out and observe it. [ Abby H} I am this morning as I was starting these activities, meditating on what words I wanted to use. I found myself just spending a little bit of time pausing and observing. And one of the things I've noticed is bees. My lilac bushes are abuzz with not only bumblebees but a lot of of really tiny bees. and that was evoked by the conversation with Kelsey Graham a couple of weeks ago around wild bees and just understanding the wide variety of differences in size and type. But even just sitting there for a few minutes, my vision kind of went from these like big bumblebees, which are lovely to like the thousands of tiny little bees that are around me and that I just usually don't pay attention to. And I think it can also help give some insight into like, you know, we talk a lot about kind of scouting for insects, but just that additional level of noticing and pausing long enough to notice that can help give you insights into what's going on in your garden. for sure. [Isabel} Yeah. I think it just hearkens on how great observation can be in the garden. We had somebody mention that they are going to bring one of their family members into the garden with the hand lens. And I just think it harkens on observation in the garden and really connecting with the space. [Abbey P.] And in fact, there's a little trick. ...maybe trick is the wrong word for it, but, uh, a skill that someone taught me that I've really used a lot, I would actually change that word from trick to technology. It's a, it's a tool. Okay? And so when I'm sitting in my sit spot, I can put my two hands out in front like this. And first just focus on your fingers. So I'm really focused on this just really narrow point in space. And then slowly, without letting my eyes move, I'm going to start moving my fingers toward my peripheral vision until I can't see them anymore. Stop and drop my hands, but still letting my vision be this open room at that my consciousness can walk around in. So without moving my eyes, I might notice something that's sort of on the far left, or I might notice something that's in the lower right. And then when I break away from that and focus on you and on the computer and on the camera again, I can feel it. My eyes are using different muscles, right? So having this ability to tap into wide angle vision gives us a chance to look at many things at once and to really detect movement. And it's my understanding that that's one of the ways that humans have used to this kind of vision in the past was for hunting. And I find it particularly useful for bird watching because people will point at a tree and say, Oh my God, do you see it? And I'm like, oh, I really want to see it. And I'm focusing on this point and this point and this point. And I'm looking at these different discrete points. When if I tap into the wide angle vision and use the whole round field of vision, I can detect the movement of that bird very quickly, then pinpoint and focus in on it. And I think that the fact that we spend so much time focused on one point... for me it leads to the headaches, honestly. It's a form of eye strain. Which is not to say that I spend my whole life in wide angle vision either. It takes some sitting spot time in order to relax and do that, but it's just kind of a cool skill. Another way to use your body as an observational tool. [Abbey P.} Yeah, thank you, Abbey. This has been really insightful and thinking about the different ways that I can ... I'm looking outside, it's raining right now, so I might do it later today, but just to spend some time being present and not be in a rush to check off those task lists. We add all those things. But just taking a moment at the start of every gardening break to pause and to just observe and be noticed. I think we are just about at time. So I want to leave with a final question, which is, What have you experienced from bringing science into the garden that leaves you with hope or inspiration or joy right now? [Abbey P.] You know, it's spring and something that I thought was not going to happen this year is happening, which is that I'm going to put in a new garden space. So the opportunity to be a first-time gardener at this house is something that's brought me a lot of joy and given me something to think about. Because planning a garden is like having a dream that you then want to slowly bring into reality. And it's gonna take time and it's going to take steps. But just having that feeling of excitement about trying something new in the garden this year. [ Abby H.} I love that you framed that as the joy of trying something new and not knowing how it'll turn out. I know it's a, it's a subtle shift in how we talk about things but framing out from " I don't know if this is going to work." to "I don't know what's going to happen." And that ability to just be present with observation is very powerful. All right, well, we're really appreciative for joining us today, Abbey. We will share out the recording of this as well as some resources to connect to some ways to bring science into your garden, including some of the activities that Abbey mentioned. I know often when we think about bringing science into the garden, we think about BIG curriculum. And I think you really just emphasized all of the small ways that we can bring that scientific observation into the garden. So I'm certainly inspired to go make some more necroquets. I now know they're supposed to be a little bit smaller than that size. boutineer size, I do remember her saying that now. but I just I just okay. [Isabel} It's okay, I did the same thing. I don't know if you just [Abbey P.] You just entered a whole new realm of flower arranging, right? Cuz you were arranging flowers just like you would. And now you know that you can bring in the textures and creepy vibes of plants skeletons. [Abby H.] So we'll share some resources in an email tomorrow. And then if you miss any of the conversations, they're all available on the learning online website and we'll send that link out as well. It's MSU Extension, gardening in Michigan. And then there's a learning online section. We'll be sure to include that with the resources tomorrow. And yeah, thanks everybody for joining us today. Yeah. Thanks everyone. And thank you, Abbey. This was really lovely. [Abbey P.] It was truly a pleasure. And thank you so much for having me and Rainbow, Rainbow, Can you say goodbye? [Abby H.} I will say Rainbow seems to have developed some new fans from our audience. [Abbey P.] She's not leaving.... [Isabel} She says "This is my 15 minutes!"

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