Plant health hero activity book (Age 5-8)
For parents & educators
The intent of this activity book is to teach young learners about the basics of plant health in Canada and how they can participate in protecting our amazing natural plant resources.
In this book, children will learn:
- the importance and impact of plant health within their own community, and Canada as a whole
- certain dangers to plant health, like invasive species and
- how they can help to protect plant life
You will find answer keys and a glossary on the last page.
Your young learners may need help navigating this workbook, even if they don't, working through the book together will give you a wonderful starting point to talk about caring for our planet and its amazing natural resources.
Prompts are wonderful tools to have when you are helping little ones make their way through a work book or to check on how well they are understanding the text.
Here are some prompts to help you spark some meaningful conversations about plant health.
- What is your favourite plant?
- What do you think would happen if there were no plants? How would that make you feel?
- Use the iNaturalist app or other plant identification apps to see what plants you have in your garden. Are they native to Canada?
- Bees have been in trouble recently, so we have to protect them. What is one way we can protect bees?
- What are we looking for when we check this tree?
(The iNaturalist app is a third party application and does not reflect the direct messaging of the government of Canada)
Meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Plant health heroes!
2020 is the international year of plant health! What does that mean? It means countries like Canada are celebrating plants and how we can protect them!
Why should we protect plants?
Plants do so many things for us!
Plants give us air to breathe. Plants are beautiful to look at.
Some animals make their homes on plants. Plants give us food to eat.
Can you think of something that you use plants for?
Can you spot the: Dog, Pumpkin, Bird, Picnic Blanket, Ball.
Plant health villains
Plant villains like insect pests and invasive plants can make our plants and trees sick. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has specially trained heroes to help fight these pests and invasive plants.
This insect pest is called the Asian longhorned beetle. It hurts maple trees. The Plant Health Hero Team kicked the Asian longhorned beetle out of Canada in 2020!
Not so fun fact: Another villain, the emerald ash borer, has killed millions of ash tress across Canada.
Ask a grown-up to help you look up a photo of the Asian longhorned beetle. What colours should you use for this insect?
Did you know that insects can travel to Canada from other countries? Even though foreign insects may not make plants sick in their home country, they can hurt Canadian plants.
Use these insect cards to help you spot some plant villains that might be in your area. See something suspicious? Ask a grown-up to help you take a picture and send it to: email@example.com.
- Hurts: Hardwood and soft trees
- Comes from: Europe and Asia
- Travels by: Eggs laid on vehicles, trailers, tents, outdoor furniture and firewood
- Hurts: Many fruit, vegetable and garden plants as well as grass
- Comes from: Asia
- Travels by: Roots, soil, plant leaves, or even on cars, trains or planes
- Hurts: Ash Trees
- Comes from: east Asia
- Travels by: Firewood, hitch hiking on vehicles, infested nursery plants
- Hurts: Hemlock Trees
- Comes from: Asia
- Travels by: Infested nursery plants, firewood
- Hurts: Spruce trees
- Comes from: Europe
- Travels by: Firewood, logs
Insects like to travel just like us. Most insects hitch a ride on things like firewood, car wheels and plant products. Use your insect cards. Where did each insect come from and what is its favourite way to travel?
Match each insect to the "vehicle" it uses to travel to and around Canada. Hint: Some insects have more than one!
Going on a trip with your family? Make sure you don't bring dirt, plants or wood back with you.
Invasive plants vs. native plants
Some plants can be villains too. Bringing new plants to new places can be dangerous to the plants native to that area.
Ask a grown-up to help you look up plants that are native to your province or territory. Pick your favourite four plants and draw them!
Most insects are not bad. Pollinators like bees and butterflies play a big role in helping plants make food for us.
Pollinating is when good insects take pollen from one plant to another so the plants can create seeds.
Help the bee pollinate the flowers and get back to its hive.
The first plant health heroes
Indigenous people were the first to care for plants in Canada. Many Indigenous communities use a smart way of planting. They plant crops that will help each other, side by side. Like the three sisters!
This way of planting food is wonderful for the earth!
When you plant corn, squash and beans together, they give each other support protection and vitamins.
Colour the Three Sisters.
How to tree check
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has special scientists who help protect plants. But we need your help too!
Find a tree in your neighborhood and inspect each part to make sure it look healthy.
The whole tree, the leaves, the branches, the trunk, the roots.
Can you spot: a branch with missing leaves, a sick leaf, an insect and holes, a crack, sawdust.
Plant health hero checklist
Here are more ways you can be a plant health hero!
- Do a tree check on one tree in your neighborhood.
- Did you already look up native plants in your province or territory? Get a grown-up to help you plant one in your house or garden!
- Be kind to nature. Water your new plant regularly. Don't rip leaves off trees.
- Look for plant villains in your yard or neighborhood.
- Leave dirt and firewood at the campground when you go camping. Don't bring it home.
- Call a family member or friend and tell them one thing you learned about plants!
You've got this!
Spot a plant villain? Ask a grown-up to help you take a picture and send your photo to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plant health hero badge
Did you complete the plant health hero checklist? Congratulations! Now you can call yourself a plant health hero!
- Colour in your plant health hero self portrait.
- Fill out your name, superpower & favourite plant.
- Cut out along the dotted lines. Carefully cut out the circles, or use a hole punch.
- Cut a string about 30" long. Thread the string through both holes. Tie a knot with both ends of the string.
- Now you can wear your badge!
We want to see you wearing your finished badge! Have a grown-up take a picture and post it to social media, using the hashtag #CDNPlantHero.
Were these words new to you?
Things like insects and plants that are foreign to Canada and are harming our plants.
A harmful insect or other animal that attacks crops, food and animals.
From another place. (like a country or province)
- Native plants
Plants that have always grown in Canada.
A group of people that live together and cooperate.
- Tree check
To look closely at a tree to see if it is healthy.
Can you think of something you use plants for?
Here are some ideas:
- food medicine
Here are some native plants to get you started on your search:
- Nova Scotia- Mayflower
- Nunavut- Purple saxifrage
- Ontario- White trillium
- Prince Edward Island- Lady's slipper
- Quebec- Blue Flag Iris
- Saskatchewan- Western Red Lily
- Yukon- Fireweed
- Alberta- Wildrose
- British Colombia- Pacific Dogwood
- Date modified: