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A Call to Action for Ash Tree Conservation and Resistance Breeding

Ash tree species in North America are under mortal threat from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), now in 35 states and five Canadian provinces. There are ongoing efforts to conserve this native tree species by producing genetically diverse, resistant seedlings suitable for restoring ash on the landscape. Identifying “lingering ash” is a critical component of amplifying these efforts, and this presentation will explain the narrow window of time in which urgent actions are needed to discover and preserve these individuals.

Nature Play: Fostering Kinship Between Children and Nature in Botanic Gardens and Beyond

A crucial function of education programming in public gardens is generating relationships between children and nature. We have a unique opportunity to personalize the horticultural aspects of our institutions. In this panel workshop, three practitioners will offer their experiences of creating play-based outdoor initiatives. The aim of each is to engage children and families, foster curiosity and discovery, and ultimately promote lifelong relationships with nature.

“Help, I’ve Fallen into Obscurity!”: Keeping Your Programs Vital to a Maturing Audience

Is your educational programming prepared for the coming “elder boom”? Every day, 10,000 Americans reach the age of 65 and the fastest growing demographic in this country is women over age 85. To remain vital to audiences, public gardens must account for these population trends in program offerings. Accordingly, gardens must also consider the unique needs and opportunities of an older adult audience in program design in order to create lasting connections to nature. 

Into the Caves with Earth Camp 

Connecting people to nature when you have a cave on your grounds is easy…or is it? Learn about the ups and downs of partnering with other organizations to highlight a special feature on your grounds. Partnerships can be a great way to reach audiences that may not otherwise have an opportunity to visit your center. 

How Evaluations Shape The Stories We Tell About Our Programs: Capturing and Sharing Impact at Public Gardens

How public gardens and arboreta evaluate their education programs determines the stories they can tell about those programs’ ability to positively impact their targeted audience and the broader community, and to build collaborations with research institutions. The feedback evaluations provide is critical to improving and adapting programs to have broader and more meaningful impacts. 

Start With a Story

Story is a powerful, provocative interpretive medium in botanical gardens. Plants already have a hard time attracting the interest of a plant-blind public, and lists of facts do little to bring them alive. Botanical gardens and their collections are full of meaning, narrative and history interleaved with personal perspectives. Stories help us uncover this and connect visitors to nature and the richness of our plant collections.

Transformative Nature Engagement: A Toolkit for Public Gardens

Humanity faces numerous challenges in adapting to a changing planet. Public gardens are an ideal setting in which to engage the public on how to be part of the solution. Climate disruption, habitat fragmentation, biodiversity loss, food security, pollution, and more are natural topics for public gardens to address. Even gardens with a primary focus on beauty can create engagement on the role of plants in nature and gently lead the public to make wise environmental choices. How do we motivate our audience to adopt environmentally healthy practices? 


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