|Gemma at Pettengill Farm on the Harraseeket River in Freeport, Maine|
Waynflete seniors research a month long independent project. Gemma combined her love of art, nature and wilderness survival for her project. She did the first drawing (the Balsam Fir) at Chewonki Semester School junior year, which was her inspiration.
It was a fun bonding experience to accompany my daughter into the woods this May. I was her location scout and guide, but she identified all the plants herself and researched their medicinal uses now and historically. I learned a lot from her.
One of the highlights was an overnight trip to Monhegan Island, ten miles out to sea, but most samples were collected within a half hour drive from home. Some, like the Mountain Ash, grow in the old growth forest behind our house. We also explored the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor.
I was impressed by Gemma's ability to render these complex plants and trees with botanical accuracy and artistic acumen. Each drawing took five or six hours to sketch in pencil and then ink. With the help of her art teacher, the results were bound into pamphlets for her peers. In her powerpoint presentation, Gemma included maps and DSLR photos too. She would make a fine teacher/professor some day. I love how we share a passion for art and nature.
The American Mountain Ash has berries rich in vitamin C,
which have been used to treat kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis and diarrhea.