10. Beneficial Relationships

A primary goal of this virtual field trip is to better understand nature. While it is important to be able to identify representative plants and animals, it is also important to gain some understanding of how organisms function in nature. Bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and certain other animals have a mutually beneficial relationship with plants. The animals collect nectar and sometimes pollen from flowers, and while doing so transport pollen from flower to flower. While pollinators benefit by obtaining food from flowers, plants benefit by having their flowers cross-pollinated.

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Maple Fruit Showing "Wings" | The Cove Forest
Maple Fruit Showing "Wings" | The Cove Forest

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A good way to begin unravelling the riddles of nature is to ask "Why?" questions. Why are mosquitoes generally most active in the early morning and evening hours? Why do maples have winged fruits, as...
Trillium Flower | The Cove Forest
Trillium Flower | The Cove Forest

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On warm spring days, flowers are often actively visited by pollinators. However, in late winter and early spring, when many herbaceous plants are in flower, it is often too cold for pollinators to fly...
Wind-Pollinated Flower | The Cove Forest
Wind-Pollinated Flower | The Cove Forest

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Trees, such as oaks and hickories, and herbaceous plants such as grasses and sedges have small inconspicuous flowers that lack nectar, odor and bright colors. Because these plants are wind-pollinated...