published February 20, 2014

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Kid's Corner: Youth Orchid Education thru Art

By Sandy Stubbings, Kyla Doty, Ashley Green, Michaela Pandorf, Becky Mason, Emily Samons, Josie Doty, Beth Mason, Sean Doty, and Kris Mason.

What can the AOS do to interest the youth of today in orchids? That is the question that has been consistently addressed by the Education Committee of the AOS. This series of articles is our attempt to involve AOS affiliates in an exchange of ideas that can be used at shows, meetings and other society activities to engage children in the world of orchids.

This project was developed by Girl Scout troops 41635 and 42473, Kyla Doty, Ashley Green, Michaela Pandorf, Becky Mason, Emily Samons, Josie Doty, Beth Mason, Sean Doty, and Kris Mason. Our project was done with 6 girl scout troops and 1 cub scout troop, ages 7 – 14.

Notice that this needs to be done in two stages, one before an orchid show and one during. It will add a display to your show and will require either a wall or a table with easel boards to post pictures on. Some one also needs to judge the pictures informally.

Materials include: live orchids, one of which can be pulled apart to show parts of the plant and the flowers, orchid books and magazines with pictures, Drawing supplies - markers, colored pencils, crayons, pencils, erasers, paper (Do not need all – erasers and regular pencils good, especially with older kids), heavy weight smooth paper, Duct Tape and Cardboard for mounting.

You also need a speaker knowledgeable about orchids, volunteers to help children with their drawing and post the pictures. Someone needs to judge the pictures at the show and award ribbons. (You can cut down donated plant ribbons won at previous shows, or use ribbons used for judging plants at the show. If the latter, someone may need to arrange it in advance so there are enough ribbons left after regular plant judging.)

Total Cost per participant averaged $1.62 (includes all new supplies, including colored pencils). Cost and supplies provided by troop that developed project. We got our paper from Hobby Lobby. Depending on size, cost was 12 – 20 dollars for packs of 10 – 30 sheets. Hobby Lobby carries colored pencil kits with 2 sets of 56 different colors for $20.

Part 1:
  • Set plants and supplies along length of table near center
  • Introduce the speaker, either yourself or a guest, and helpers
  • Once kids are seated, hand out paper
  • Ask them to write full name and age on back of paper
  • Inform them that they can draw while you tell them about orchids. (The approach that has worked best is to have the kids draw while giving information and pictures about the orchids and orchid related topics. Originally, there were concerns expressed by some, that if the kids were actively drawing and looking at the plants or printed materials, that they wouldn’t be listening to the information given by someone knowledgeable about orchids. A small trial group of kids did the project in the spring of 2012. I returned to these kids in Sept. 2013. Every kid was able to remember at least some information presented in their first session. Many, had lots of information that they remembered.)
  • Let them know that their art work will be displayed at the orchid show (hand out informational about show if available)
  • Let them know they can ask questions
  • Give an introductory talk on orchids. Examples of what you can include: types of orchids, general orchid care, parts of plant and/or flower, orchids in nature. Kids that were involved with the project were presented information about adaptations, conservation, environments, biodiversity, cultivation, culture, ecology, and native populations. Other topics can include the world of orchids – American Orchid Society, judging, shows, books, publications, orchid communities and people world wide.
  • Be sure to include what makes you love orchids and why.
  • If you have flowers that can be taken apart, walk to each individual kids and show them.
  • When you are done, it is important to thank them for allowing you to come and share with them about something you love.
Part 2:
  • Collect art work. Let them know when they can pick them up, or when you will be able return the art work to them.
  • Mount art work onto card board with duct tape (easier to display at shows and gives nice finish for minimal cost)
  • Enter art work in show – if possible, identify individual artist (kids love to see their name on display with the public)
  • Return art work to kids when show is completed (along with any ribbons or awards)
A Few Extras:
  • Try not to judge quality of work. If it at all resembles orchids, include it in the orchid show. At all levels, there are different talents and perceptions. There is no right or wrong (although the poor judges will have to make some choices). The point of the project is for kids to learn about orchids in a personal way and be able to participate in the orchid show. If at all possible, try to include every one that participates in the project.
  • Things that judges have found helpful to include in the entry – plant that inspired the art work, if known; age; some kind of descriptor to make it easier to differentiate art work.
  • Make it personal – why did you get involved in orchids, why do you find it important

The American Orchid Society has designed a patch for participants of this project (or others that want to do this project) if interested in obtaining the patch please contact Sandy Stubbings sstubbings@comcast.net

Information if you are interested: If you are a girl scout or boy scout troop, school or other youth group and are interested in doing this (or a similar project) – contact your local orchid society, go to an orchid show in your area, or contact the American Orchid Society, email TheAOS@aos.org, or phone: (305) 740-2010. For assistance, ask for local societies or judges in your area. If you are an orchid society, or orchid enthusiast, contact your local Girl Scout Council, Boy Scout Council, local artist guilds (especially ones that offer kids art classes), your local schools and more. www.girlscouts.org, www.scouting.org (boy scouts)

References
1. “Phalaenopsis Vol. 23 (4) 2013. “Sharing Love of Orchids with Kids” p. 23 - 24
2. “Orchids” Volume 82 #11 November, 2013 “Kid’s Corner” p. 649. Activity covered “Photo Panel”
3. “Orchids” Volume 82 #12 Dec. 2013 “Kid’s Corner” p. 712-713 Activity covered “Sorting Boxes”
4. “Orchids” Volume 83 #1 Jan. 2014 “Kid’s Corner” p. 8 Activity covered “Orchid Hunt”