A recent business conference for teachers led to Tuesdays tour of Flora Pacifica for Connie Budges first grade class from Kalmiopsis Elementary School.

Budge attended the sixth annual Gettin Down to Business symposium in Bandon, which was sponsored by the Menasha Corp., where each teacher was paired with a business person.

Cherie Mitchell from Flora Pacifica drove to Bandon to meet with me for three hours, Budge said.

Mitchell has been working with Budge to help her bring the business world into the classroom, Budge said.

As the class toured Flora Pacificas herb garden, Mitchell talked about the plants uses.

Why do we plant herbs, she asked.

Because theyre pretty, a student said.

We use them for medicine and we use them for cooking, Mitchell said.

Lambs ear is an example of a medicinal plant. It will heal a cut, Mitchell said. Soldiers used it for bandages in the Civil War.

As the children picked bits of rosemary, Mitchell said, Its wonderful with fish and with all kinds of meat.

We sell more rosemary than any other plant, she said.

Rosemarys roots will keep the ground from washing down hill when it rains, she said.

Deer wont eat it, it grows fast and it smells good, she said.

There are many kinds of scented geraniums. Some smell like roses, lemons or limes, Mitchell said.

Because rose oil is expensive, rose geranium is used, Mitchell said.

Digitalis or fox glove, that is (a plant) you dont ever want to eat, Mitchell said.

It is used to make medicine for people who have weak hearts.

Mitchell told the children now is a good time to learn which plants are edible and which are poisonous.

If you ever did get lost out in the woods there are a lot of plants you could eat,she said.

In Flora Pacificas shop the students viewed wreaths, many of them created with plants they had seen outside in the garden.

Herbs supplied by Mitchell have been planted in the community garden at Kalmiopsis Elementary School.

The kids really own that area now, Budge said.

Much of what Mitchell has been sharing with the class has been worked into other lessons like science and math, Budge said.

Its made it really meaningful to them. They are wanting to do everything now.

Budge said the teachers symposium was fabulous and recommends it to other teachers.