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God’s handywork on display at Botanical Gardens

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By Abigail Sturdivant and Joscelyn Sanchez
Grade 7

 Pope Francis said, “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life.” 

 On February 3, our seventh grade class from St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Riverside went on a field trip to the Botanical Gardens at the University of California, Riverside. While there, we studied a diverse selection of plants and learned about all their beneficial uses. This helped us to appreciate God’s creations even more.

 As stated in our Schoolwide Learning Expectations we are to be responsible, globally aware citizens who “Take care of God’s earth and all of its creatures for now and the future.” 

 After we were introduced to our docents we began our journey through the gardens. We learned about the Agaves and their vast assortment of sizes. These plants require minimal water, so they’re easy to grow. One of the most remarkable plants we saw was the Century plant, an Agave plant that bloomed once, 30 years after it was first planted, and originally was thought to bloom once a century, hence its name. The plant is due to bloom in April of this year!

 Next, we learned about the giant Redwood, the California state tree. Beside the Redwood tree was petrified wood which has a rich pigment of color within it. We learned about the many different species of plants and their every day uses such as medicinal, culinary, and decorative.

 As we continued on our walk we saw giant bamboo and a Buckeye tree. The Buckeye tree was used by the Native Americans. The seeds were poisonous, so the poison was filtered out and the residual powder was used to make tortillas. They also used the seeds to stun fish while fishing. 

 At the very top of the garden trail is a dazzling butterfly garden. This garden is made up mainly of California native plants. The blooms attract many species of beautiful butterflies.

 The Botanical Gardens is an amazing place to visit. Through God wonders are made and are abundantly appreciated. “All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be (John 1:3).”