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Connecting People to Plants-Botanical Messages that Make a Difference

Guerrant, Edward O., Jr. [1].

Botanic Gardens and Off Site Conservation: Connecting the Generations.

As Conservation Director at a small, non-profit, botanic garden that has conservation of rare and endangered plants of the Pacific Northwest as one of its missions, my work is connecting people and plants. The Conservation Program oversees a seed bank for rare and endangered species, which currently holds over 12,000 accessions of 330 of our region's most vulnerable plant taxa. We conduct scientific research into germination, propagation, reintroduction, and ecology of the Pacific Northwest's most vulnerable plants. We work with many people, both public and private, in the context of many different relationships, from federal land management and regulatory personnel, to private land owners, to colleagues around the country and world, to high school and post college interns, volunteers, and to the general public. As social institutions, botanic gardens have a deep historical tradition of connecting people and plants, in many ways and for many different purposes. An increasing number of botanic gardens are committing to the goal of conserving the world's flora, many investing in collecting and storing seed off site, in seed banks. Properly prepared and stored, seeds can remain alive for centuries. Education and outreach are basic, because the conservation value of removing organisms from their environment to conserve them is viewed by some as misguided, even dangerous. But it is not necessarily so, at least when done properly, and for the purpose of supporting species survival in the wild. Off site conservation is a means to an end (survival in the wild), not an end in itself, and an integral part of the larger conservation effort. Botanical gardens serve to connect people and plant, and with long term storage of vulnerable species, we seek to connect the plants of today with the people of tomorrow.


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Related Links:
Berry Botanic Garden Conservation Page
Center for Plant Conservation
Links to other seed banks


1 - Berry Botanic Garden, Conservation Director, 11505 SW Summerville Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97229, USA

Keywords:
conservation
botanic garden
off site
ex situ
seed storage.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 14-2
Location: Salon G - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 1:45 PM
Abstract ID:346


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