Park Life Blog

Wildlife Education: Photosynthesis

Shelby Farms Park has more than 20 lakes and ponds, more than 40 miles of trails, and a variety of plant and tree species that call the Park "home". Today, let's learn about the process by which these plants get their energy and become green-- photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is the process of using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to produce sugars and oxygen. Sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide are the reactants; sugar and oxygen are the products. One reason why plants play an important role in the environment is because the process of photosynthesis produces oxygen which living things need to survive. Photosynthesis takes place in chloroplasts. Chloroplasts contain chlorophyll which is a pigment that absorbs sunlight and gives leaves their green color.

Autotrophs are organisms that make their own food using sunlight or chemical energy. Because an autotroph can “produce” its own food, it is often called a producer. Many autotrophs such as grasses, trees, and other plants perform photosynthesis. During the process of photosynthesis, these autotrophs absorb sunlight energy and convert it into sugars, which stores chemical energy. 

Take a nature walk and identify 3 examples of organisms (living things) that perform photosynthesis.

To find additional education resources, click here.

Special thanks to International Paper for helping make education programs at Shelby Farms Park possible.

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