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Botany Field Kit


Pam and I like to stop and take a cutting from plants which attract our attention, assuming it is legal and permitted. In order to do this, we needed a kit of some sort which included all the supplies and equipment that we would possibly require.  This kit is helpful because we never know when we may find something of interest in our travels. Everyone who is interested in plants and growing them should have such a kit.  This field kit is nothing as elaborate as the professional botanist kits, but it is adequate for our use.

In order to be ready for any sort of situation we first obtained a carrier for all our tools and equipment. Fortunately, school is just starting and backpacks can be found at various prices. I picked up an inexpensive one at Walmart for $12.00. The container used to house the supplies had to be light enough that we could carry it with us if we left the car. However, it still had to be Large enough to store all our supplies. The backpack served these requirements well and there is plenty of room for expansion. Additionally, it did not break our pocketbook. It is lightweight and you hardly know it was being carried.

Within the backpack we included a roll of paper towels, a box of Ziploc plastic bags, several pruning shears and a small bottle of water. Among our tools we also included a black marker so that we could write down any vital information on the baggie concerning the cutting we took.

On the outside of the backpack we glued a tape measure onto it so we had the ability to take measurement in the event we needed to. In our kit we included a small trowel just in case we encountered any plantlets or suckers from the main plant. A sharp knife and a pair of scissors were also included.  I have added a hand lens which may prove useful at some point in time. I used one during my Master Gardening Classes.

A plant guide book provides a means by which the plants which you find can be identified. No one knows all the plants that are found within a specific area so a little help in this area is usually appreciated. I also like to keep a plant leaf book handy as an additional aid to identifying the family of a plant I am looking at. These books prove invaluable in the field. Guide books which offer a glossary of botanical terms in the back can be especially useful.

I have included some small plastic containers from the Dollar Tree which could hold seeds or other small finds. Tweezers are useful to have in the kit as well along with some plastic gloves. I have included some small collector bags and a paint brush to collect pollen from flowers for hybridization at home.

A journal and writing instruments are essential tools for your cutting kit as it allows you to record notes and observations in your plant travels. Some of the observations you may wish to take note of include the weather data during your cutting adventure, the general habitat, along with the date and time of day. A small digital camera will come in extremely handy for photographing the plants.

We often overlook the hazards which can take place in the wild as we are searching for plant cuttings. It is important that we be prepared for those unexpected bites, sunburn and wet feet. Here is an additional list of personal items you may wish to carry with you.

Bug and tick spray

Snacks and water

First aid kit – Dollar Tree size. Used for small cuts, and scratches, nothing major.

Trowel, and trash bag

Rain poncho

Sunscreen, and hat

Comfortable clothing and shoes

Small flashlight or headlamp

Compass or other navigation tools

Cell phone and/or radio

You are now on your way to enjoying the job of an amateur botanist.

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My name is Joseph Parish. I am also known as "Word Writer", a freelance writer who specializes in a host of subjects from survival and emergency actions to gardening. Over the years, I have found that many people involved in the subject of survival claim an attraction towards the subject they practice. A few of them have really meant it. Fewer still have put their life into it and shown their true feelings about the subject. I attended the American Public University, specializing in Emergency Management and Terrorism. I have written one book on terrorism entitled “The Mind of a Terrorist”, and it is available on Amazon. I was brought up in southern New Jersey and attended school in the Millville area, graduating from the Millville Senor High school in 1966. By the time I graduated, I was hooked upon entering the United States Air Force. I was determined to enter the military and pursue a field of study in the area of electronics. I initially attended a course in Aircraft Radio Repair at Kessler Air Force Base in Mississippi. Later, I was trained as a Ground Radio Repairman. Little did I realize that this course of training would eventually lead him into the Forward Air Control Career field. I remained in the military for 21 years, at which time I visited many foreign countries as well as just about all 50 states in America. In 1987, I decided that it was time to get out of the military and retire from active duty. It was at this time that I made a quantum career leap; combining my, military electronics training with my love of Aircraft, I became employed by TRW Aerospace in Redondo Beach California. The company was involved in developing and manufacturing various space craft units and satellites for the government. I will readily admit that the company was one of the greatest places I had ever worked, and really hated to leave the company, but I decided to depart the area. I have developed many interesting and cherished friendships while learning survival techniques, particularly those that dealt with earthquakes. Unfortunately, the area was not the best place to bring up children in and upon the conclusion of my contract with TRW, I returned to the east coast. Upon my return to the New Jersey area, I began teaching school for several years. I generally taught Junior High subjects, such as science and math. After getting involved in the teaching of young minds, I was informed that a close relative in Florida was ill and required help. Without hesitation, I headed to the sunshine state to assist. While in Florida I was employed as an RF Amplifier Engineer. Eventually the crisis which had brought me to Florida was over, and I was once again heading back up north, only this time to the state of Delaware. Here I worked as a mainframe computer operator for a major chicken producer until I decided that it was time for me to permanently retire. I decided to take a slightly different route. I was attracted to the topic of survival because of my love for the military and my field of work while I was active duty. When 9-11 took place in America, there was a rise in the popularity of survival preparations which led to both government and private citizens being concerned about survival. These people and agencies had the freedom to select the various topics relating to the subject and the followers began to flock to them because of their knowledge and values. By the end of 2007, various internet websites began cropping up relating to survival. One such website was mine. Being a part-time newspaper reporter in New Jersey years ago, I would create my own form of written articles. My first exposure to "survival" came as an Air Force Forward Air Controller (ROMAD) during my 21 years in the military. I have served as a unit Safety NCO, Emergency Preparedness NCO and other related duties. Some of my safety related articles had been published in the Air Force Safety Manual. Over the years I have taken courses ranging from FEMA sponsor classes to “Aircraft aviation” courses in my efforts to become more informed on survival techniques and procedures. I am a firm believer that you must be ready for any sort of emergency and above all you simply cannot rely upon the government to help you during times of crisis. I am a follower of the philosophy that you should continue to learn as much as you possibly can and believe that when you stop learning you are simply dead. I am currently an active volunteer in the Delaware Medical Reserve Corp, participating in the Delaware Bat Monitoring Program and the Terrapin Rescue. I previously was a Red Cross volunteer working with the Emergency Management Section of the organization. My hobby is gardening and I have my own greenhouse. I love experimenting with the propagation of plants. Many of my articles center around the topic of gardening. I look forward to accepting assignments from potential clients. Feel free to contact me at (302) 404-5976.


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