Here’s an identification page highlighting four key plants that are very conspicuous in the late summer and fall meadows: New England Asters, Canada Goldenrod, Queen Anne’s Lace, and Milkweed. Several of these constitute veritable mini-ecosystems when we consider them along with their unique constellations of invertebrates. They also have interesting histories in terms of their interactions with that ubiquitous animal – Homo Sapiens. These associations are wonderfully described in John Eastman’s excellent book Field and Roadside: Open-Country Weeds, Trees, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America, and Donald and Lillian Stokes’ very helpful Guide to Enjoying Wildflowers.
I’m certain that you can think of many ways to utilize these illustrations to reinforce or prepare your students for their field trips, including those that extend just to the edge of the school yard. In this regard, please encourage your school Principal and Maintenance People to set aside at least some of the part of school ground for once-only annual mowing to provide early succession plants for science studies and improved animal habitat (including, of course, a refuge for pollinators).
Here’s the PDF: Fall Meadow Plants EB