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Botany Scavenger Hunt

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

An exploration of the native plants in the Tahoe region.

Grade Level:



Earth Science:

  • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Life Science:

  • Botany

  • Inheritance and Variations of Traits

Tools & Materials

To Do & Notice

1. Question: What are some of the common native plants in the Tahoe region?

  • Watch this introductory video created by Jenna Granger, SWEP Field Instructor to learn more about native plants.

2. Explore:

  • Play the Super Botanist Guessing Game! Click into this Slideshow and follow the instructions to guess which native plant is being described. See how many native plants you can identify!

  • Test your plant identification skills with Backyard Botany Bingo! Go outside with a printed copy of SWEP’s Backyard Botany Bingo Card. Observe the plants in your backyard and see if you can find all the plants listed on the card. Cross off all that you can find to see if you can get BINGO! (a solid horizontal, vertical or diagonal line or a full card bingo!!!)

  • Did you find a plant that isn’t on the card? Use a field guide or iNaturalist Seek application to help you identify the plant. See “Going Further” section to learn more about these identification options.

3. Communicate Findings:

  • Post photos of your most interesting finds on social media and tag us @sweptahoe on Instagram and/or to @swep4 on Facebook. Be sure to hashtag and follow #SWEPsnippets. If you cannot post directly yourself, send SWEP your photos (

What’s Going On

Glossary of terms:

Botany: Botany is the study of plants. It is a branch of biology. Scientists who work in the field of botany are called botanists.

Perennial Plant: Are plants that live for more than one growing season. They grow and bloom in the spring and summer, die back every fall and winter, and then regrow the next year.

Tree: Trees are tall, woody plants. They usually have a centralized stem called a trunk.

Shrub: Shrubs are shorter woody plants with several stems. A shrub will normally be less than 13 feet tall, but some can be taller.

What are native plants?

  • Plants that live and grow naturally in an area. Native plants evolved naturally over a long period of time and were not brought to that area by humans. (Non-native plants were brought to an area by humans or animals either accidentally or on purpose.)

Why are native plants important?

  • They are natural to an area, and don’t require care from humans to survive. They require less water and no fertilizer. They also provide shelter and food to the local native animals and promote biodiversity.

What is biodiversity?

  • Variation in plants and wildlife in an area. Instead of having just one kind of plant, there are many which allow for a healthy ecosystem.


  • Full list of Tahoe Basin native plant species

Going Further

  • Continue learning about native plants on all your nature walks, download the SEEK app or get The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevadas and identify as you go!

  • Create a Nature Journal or Scientific Notebook to sketch plants (and animals) that you observe while outside.

  • Take small samples of leaves and flowers from the plants you find and turn them into sun catchers or book markers using wax paper and a hot iron.

Thank you to our many partners for supporting student's science, sustainability and outdoor learning experiences.

Please review SWEP's Terms of Use prior to using this resource.

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