April: National Native Plants Garden Month


April: National Native Plants Garden Month

Since 2015 the month of April has been known as National Garden Month, and here at Barona Museum we enthusiastically participated in National Garden Month by educating others on the uses and importance of native plants. In our Ancient Spirits Speak class, we used acorns to make shawii and for Heritage Project, we taught nature journaling to the 7th & 8th graders at Barona Indian Charter School. We also contributed a native plants brochure to Alpine County Library’s exhibit Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concept of Health and Illness and made native plant bookmarks with students from a local school. Needless to say, this month was a favorite among our plant-loving staff!

Heritage Project For the past 8 years Barona Museum and Barona Indian

Charter School’s 7th and 8th graders have collaborated on an ethnobotany program called, Heritage Project. The Heritage Project was created to teach and continue the history and heritage of the Barona Band of Mission Indians using items in the Barona Cultural Center & Museum’s collection. In the past, Heritage Project students have made traditional tools such as rabbit sticks, cultivated and helped maintain a Native Garden, and helped rehouse plant specimens in the Museum’s collection.

This past April, our assistant curator, Jennifer Stone, worked with volunteer naturalist, Barbara Tagami to teach the 7th and 8th graders how to make and keep a nature journal. In addition to teaching the students how to document and draw native plants, Jennifer also taught them the ‘Iipay Aa name and Kumeyaay/Diegueño uses for each plant.

Ancient Spirits Speak: Native Foods Our education coordinator, Mallory Genauer also got her hands dirty with native plants this month! In our Ancient Spirits Speak class, she and the participants used acorns to make shawii. Shawii was a main food source for the Kumeyaay/Diegueño for thousands of years. When finished, shawii is an acorn pudding that is usually flavored with honey or fruit. The process for making shawii is labor intensive, but the end result is delicious! You can check out Mallory’s shawii making experience in the slideshow below!

Queen Bee: Delfina Cuero Although National Garden Month is over, our love for native plants never ends! In the Museum Store, one of our top-selling books is The Autobiography of Delfina Cuero. This book is small but packed full of information about Delfina Cuero (Jamul) and her extensive knowledge of native plants. It is also available in our research library and is a favorite among staff!

Want to know more about plants native to the area? Check out the books listed below or stop by and chat with us at the Museum!

The Autobiography of Delfina Cuero by Florence Connolly Shipek

Medicinal Plants Used by Native American Tribes in Southern California by Donna Largo, Daniel F. McCarthy, and Marcia Roper

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Californias by Michael Wilken-Robertson

Nursery Manual for Native Plants: A Guide for Tribal Nurseries by R. Kasten Dumroese, Tara Luna, and Thomas D. Landis


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