citizen science

Kay Havens, Chicago Botanic Garden

Plant conservation is promoted through outreach and advocacy. One way to cure plant blindness is by engaging the public in authentic research, as illustrated by the Bud Burst citizen science program. After 10 years of crowdsourcing phenology data, Bud Burst managers decided they could better engage the public by bringing them on a journey of research: asking a question, collecting and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. The question currently under investigation at five sites across the U.S. is whether cultivars of native species provide the same pollinator support as true, wild-type natives.

Government officials must also learn to value plants and plant communities. The Chicago Botanical Garden recently collaborated with the Garden Society of America and other groups to write HR1572, the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research Restoration and Promotion Act. The bill creates an educational tool for elected officials, media and the public, and it encourages introduction of legislative proposals and enactment into law. The main aims of the bill are to fund needed research, encourage students to train for careers in botany and land management, and build a market for native plant materials.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Jennifer Possley, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

For over a decade, Fairchild's Connect to Protect Network (CTPN) has inspired South Florida residents to plant native pine rockland plants in order to help connect the few remaining isolated fragments of pine rockland—a globally critically imperiled (G1S1) plant community. CTPN members include more than 700 individuals and approximately 100 schools. Each year, we donate hundreds of “Pine Rockland Starter Kits” to homes and schools. CTPN is growing rapidly; more than half of our members joined in the past two years. We have found that it is wonderfully easy to get South Floridians excited about free native plants, however, it can be difficult to keep members engaged and is even more challenging to tap into the network and obtain meaningful citizen science data. This presentation reviews some of CTPN’s more recent changes and near-future plans, which include the use of iNaturalist and the incorporation of more media to help more homeowners garden with native pine rockland plants.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 2, 2019