There are a few classes that I have to take simply to fill graduation requirements, including classes completely outside of my interest like math and science. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bad at math or science. I willingly took lots of science and math classes in high school. Now though, I prefer the math skills needed to grid a painting or the science abilities necessary to make things in my garage over actual classes.
I am currently finishing up my class, Plants and Peoples, to complete my lab science requirement. I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy the class because, to be honest, four days a week of science did not sound appealing. However, lots of our labs have been field trips to awesome places: Draper’s Apiary, Cornell University, the green roof on the Steele Memorial Library, the USDA site in Big Flats, and a local winery.
The past two weeks we have stayed on campus for lab rather than going on a field trip, but it meant we got to eat and make things! Last week, the lab was about sweeteners and beverages. There were taste test to see if we could identify different teas (including green, twig, oolong…), decide which sweeteners are the sweetest (including Stevia, cane sugar, Splenda…), and tell the difference between chocolate and carob chips.
One day in class, rather than a lecture, we had a mini lab on fibers. After seeing different plants that textiles are made from, we got to spin wool and make rope. Let’s just say that Kelsey and I did pretty well making rope, but we would never make it spinning wool (our sweaters would be pretty lumpy and inconsistent).
Finally, during Tuesday’s lab, we made hand cream and salve. Sadly, I didn’t take pictures in class while we were working… I couldn’t see anyone taking us seriously as we made hand cream wearing safety goggles. After mixing ingredients, heating them, refrigerating them, and then blending in final ingredients, we got to pour them into little jars and take them home.
Even though science isn’t my favorite subject and I couldn’t be a chemistry or biology major, I have learned some awesome things in Plants and Peoples. If the whole art thing doesn’t work, I think I could open a spa… tea, chocolate, lotion, but someone else will have to make the robes…