Tend Gather & Grow Curriculum
Tend, Gather and Grow (Tend) is a K-12 curriculum that focuses on native and naturalized plants of the Pacific Northwest region. Through hands-on activities, students explore themes in wild food traditions, herbal medicine, plant technologies, cultural ecosystems, and tree communities. Northwest Native American plant knowledge and stories are woven throughout the curriculum.
The 60+ lessons align with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM) education principles and Next Generation Science Standards. The Tend curriculum was designed by a team of Native and non-native educators and is intended for use by Native and non-native educators and their students. It has been reviewed for accuracy, ethical harvesting practices, and culturally-appropriate content.
Tend Gather and Grow Teacher Guide
We ask that anyone using our educational materials read the Tend Teacher Guide and watch the Honoring Plants, Paces, and Cultural Traditions video before using the materials.These explore the ethical harvest considerations and cultural foundations of this work, as well as teaching practices that enhance students’ interaction with the content. Thank you!
Samples from Tend Plant Guide
The Tend Plant Guide covers 20 northwest plants and includes 38 hands-on lessons. Teachers can choose plants and lessons based on what is available, in season, and most relevant to students. Plants that are at risk for overharvest have not been included in the curriculum unless there is a specific emphasis on restoration.
Alder builds strong community. Seeds fly in the wind and rain down on disturbed soils in the wake of fire, landslides, or clear cuts. As trees grow they enrich the soil and provide a shady habitat for many species to live.
Bigleaf maple forms a lush shade of canopy and shelter. Mosses and ferns cover older branches, making it appear soft, green, and bountiful. Flowers can be gathered from low branches or from the forest floor after a windstorm.
Cleavers is a seasoned traveler. Few plants have so effectively moved across continents, thriving where they land. Velcro like hairs on leaves and seeds make it perfectly adapted to hitching rides on fur and clothes. As medicine, cleavers assist our bodies internal movement by cooling inflammation and clearing obstacles, but inhibit the smooth flow of lymph, blood, and urine.
Cottonwoods stand like guardians over river banks and wetlands. Each trees broad canopy, tall trunk, and miles of roots create a rich ecosystem, benefitting many species.
In springtime dandelion's sunny flowering faces appear all at once. These common "weeds" thrive in cracks in sidewalks, grassy lawns, well tended gardens, abandoned city lots and even mountain meadows. Dandelion is both a nutritious food and a powerful medicine.
The Douglas fir tree is a model of adaptability. It thrives in diverse places, from shady forests to sunny clearings, mountain slopes to coastal bluffs.It can take the form of a scraggly bonsai tree shaped by harsh weather, or a massive 100-year old giant with a thick trunk and 300 foot crown.
Fireweed is often the first plant to return to burned or logged areas. Fluffy seeds rise in the wind and quickly rise up steadfast and strong.
Plantain is also called frog leaf and Indian band-aid plant. The leaves have long been used as a first aid remedy for sealing wounds and drawing out infections. Whether you are in an urban area, school yard, or neighborhood, plantain is often close at hand.
Salmonberry is an indicator of Spring. Bright pink flowers add a first splash of color to the forest after winter. Tender shoots are peeled and eaten as an energizing vegetable. The much-anticipated berries are the first of the season, and vary in color from orange to ruby-red to purple.
The river is cloaked in a thicket of willow. Protective branches reach out over the water, providing shade and shelter to birds, mammals, and fish. Deer graze on the delicate spring branches. Bees and other insects feast on willow pollen and nectar. When floods ravage the land, willow can take root and grow quickly, transforming barrenness into a place of abundance.
Yarrow is a medicine chest in itself. If you know how to use this one plant, you can help ease many health complaints, including stopping bleeding, fighting infection, reducing fevers, cooling inflammation, and promoting better circulation!
Tend Resources for Students & Families
Evergreen Conifer Trees Student Handout
This handout can accompany the Evergreen Conifer Trees lesson for grades 6-12.
Tree Communities Student Handout
This handout accompanies the Tree Communities overview and plant walk, and is intended for grades 6 students to adults.
Wild Berry Toolkit
This toolkit introduces Northwest native and wild berries, and includes identification cards, Coast Salish stories, a berry bingo game, recipes, and activities.