As I’m sure you know, most high schoolers take three science courses. These are: Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. Some students may also take a Computer Science course. But, in all of those courses, they rarely get advanced Botany. In fact, most children never study Botany again after third grade and can’t even name ten plants or trees in their neighborhoods. They may not even see that botany is important to their everyday lives. We need to remedy this! Let’s talk about why study botany in high school to combat the growing labor shortage and general ignorance about plants.
Why Study Botany in High School
You might think Botany would be covered as part of Biology, but that is not always true. High school biology is mostly microbiology and there is also a good deal of evolution content as well. Botany barely gets one chapter and is often little more than what they learned in third grade. That’s why Botany should be offered as a one semester science course alongside Anatomy and Physiology, Geology, and other alternatives. Let’s explore some compelling reasons why high school students need this option.
Of course, everyone wants to know about employment opportunities! Did you know that there are 100+ careers in botanical fields? Yes! And, fully one third go unfilled each year as people retire. That is a huge opportunity to earn a good salary in a rewarding, in-demand career. Some of these STEM botany careers are at the forefront of environmental issues, food safety and supply, biofuel development, and discovering new medicines. For job security, this is where it’s at!
Life Skills Training
Another great benefit of learning Advanced Botany in high school is an introduction to an important life skill. This life skill is growing food. After all, there’s a lot more to growing food successfully than dropping seeds in the ground. So, learning some soil science, integrated pest control, and more about plant needs can teach teens how to provide food for themselves. After all, with today’s uncertain supply chain and rising food prices, families will need to do this more and more.
Safety and Self-Care
I am saddened by the number of twentysomethings who don’t know simple plant remedies, nor do they even know how to identify plants poisonous to their pets. Instead, they run to the drug store or hospital for every.little.thing. If they had taken Advanced Botany in high school, they might know about the medicine chest in their backyards or at least understand that they can grow plants to address their health needs. They would also be able to keep themselves and their pets safe when out on walks or even when they bring home houseplants.
Why Study Botany? Relevant Learning!
Teens are always complaining about having to learn subjects that they will never use. And, to be honest, they are mostly right. But, botany is one of those subjects that is very, very relevant. After all, it is the one science we can’t live without. And, without it, many of the other STEM areas of study wouldn’t exist. Plants, trees, reeds, crops….all of these are necessary for food, medicine, building materials, fuel, clothing, and even things like controlling the flow of rivers and filtering polluted water.
Encourages stewardship and advocacy
Christians are supposed be good stewards of the resources we’ve been given. We are supposed to care for the garden and tend it. But, if we don’t teach the next generation how complex and delightful the garden is, they won’t take up the mantle. They will develop plant blindness. Then, there will be little hope for preserving and wisely using our green allies. We can’t allow that. After all, time in the outdoors has so many benefits to our health and wellbeing. Let’s encourage them to love plants and love nature so they will advocate for it and tend it.