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Orange County Focus

HUNTINGTON BEACH : Students 'Adopt' Endangered Plants

November 29, 1989|ALLISON SAMUELS

At Pegasus Elementary School, 10-year-old Chris Rakunas said he worries about where food will come from if certain animals cease to exist. Nine-year-old Nathania Chen worries about the vanishing ozone layer.

As a part of their lessons on endangered species and science, the fourth- and fifth-grade students took nature into their own hands by adopting endangered plants.

"I really have a new respect for the plant since we've begun learning about them," Rakunas said. "It is so important that we work hard to keep all the things around us alive."

The school, which is designed for gifted children in kindergarten through fifth grades, is working with the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Through its Adopt an Endangered Plant Program, the center is fervently trying to save endangered plants found only in California.

"At this point, we are concentrating particularly on types of plants that are common to this area," said Rebecca Caughman, spokeswoman for the garden. "There are various plants around that there are no more than a handful remaining."

The garden introduced the adoption program last month at its annual native plant sale. Buyers of native plants each received a personalized certificate of adoption along with a plant care guide.

Pegasus science teacher Adrianne White, who heard about the sale, was certain it would be perfect for her class.

"Since we've concentrated a great deal on endangered species, I knew this adoption program would work very well with what they were learning, particularly since this is a life form that gets very little attention," White said.

The children planted three species in the back of the schoolyard and will take turns monitoring them.

"What we try to do here is incorporate science as part of their lives, said Laura Katz Hathaway, school director. "These children really do worry about what they see and read and are sometimes afraid for their surroundings and what's happening to them."

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