Pohnpei Traditional Plants ethnobotanical garden

The ethnobotany class visited the Pohnpei traditional plants garden as an introduction to the unit on the healing plants of Micronesia.

Each term there is a perceptible decay in the plant knowledge of the students. This term appears to have hit a new low in devolution. The loss of plant names and uses was pervasive across the class. In a change from prior terms, the few local plant names that were known by students were plants known by students from Chuuk state. The Pohnpei state students seemed broadly at a loss of ability to name a number of different plants.

The future hopes of retaining ethnobotanical knowledge rest on a thin line of a few students. A deep concern for the culture and traditions and their retention has led to what might be called a "tough love" approach to teaching and learning. This field trip included some educational tough love. As the noted educational theorist Paulo Freire once said while speaking to educators at the University of Illinois, "education is love." Love for both for a subject matter and for the students with whom one hopes to entrust that most priceless of possessions, knowledge.
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