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Connecting People to Plants-Botanical Messages that Make a Difference

Wagner, Lisa K. [1].

Have you thanked a plant today?

As a botanical garden educator, I've learned to appreciate the power of simple messages. My programs for adults and children connect people of all ages with plants and the natural world through inquiry-based learning and experiences in the garden. Consider pollinator visits to flowers, for example. Encouraging teachers, college students, parents, and children to observe flowers and their visitors more closely (before "telling" them about pollinator syndromes or floral morphology) has elicited responses from "wow, I had no idea that flowers were so interesting" to "I always hated science before, but this is great." Even in a presentation for adults, engaging listeners through posing questions, creatively using visuals, and keeping the messages direct and clear has far more impact than a traditional "lecture" program. Interpretive signage offers another area where key points are best served by simple messages and an engaging approach. Short captions, "hooks", and visuals that tell a clear story make the difference between a panel that people stop and read and one that is ignored. Botanical messages that capture interest and "work" to connect people to plants are an essential part of an effective communication strategy to advocate for plants and their conservation.


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1 - Clemson University, South Carolina Botanical Garden, 102 Garden Trail, Clemson, South Carolina, 29634-0174, USA

Keywords:
botanical education
inquiry-based learning
public outreach
K-12 education, science curriculum
botanical messages.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 14-6
Location: Salon G - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 4:30 PM
Abstract ID:102


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