Make Your Own Botanical Press
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 5-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

A botanical press is useful to take along on nature hikes so that specimens such as wild flowers and leaves, which wilt rapidly, can be pressed on the spot. You should also take a journal with you on your hikes, so you can take careful notes on the habitat of each specimen for later reference. REMEMBER: since some wild flowers are rapidly disappearing from our nature haunts, there are rules about picking them. Be sure you are familiar with the laws of your state and even then pick only those legal specimens which are numerous. IT IS IMPORTANT to remember to never dry leaves or flowers inside the pages of a book, the oils in the specimens will ruin the paper!

cardboard newspaper 2 pieces of wood leather straps

A botanical press is easy to make. You need two pieces of wood for the outside. The ends of orange crates are a good size and usually are free for the asking. Nail the centers of two leather straps, or old belts, to the bottom of one of the boards. Place sheets of newspaper and cardboard between the two boards. When a specimen is found, carefully spread it out in between the papers. Tie the straps to hold the press tight. A small handle makes the press easier to carry on your journey through the woods and meadows.

Related Lesson Topics:
Biology: Plants

Lesson Plan provided by Dr. Helen Challand and Elizabeth Brandt with permission from Science Activities from A to Z, illustrations by Herb Rudd, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: