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Art in the Garden – More than Just Icing on the Cake

Studies show that only a small percentage of visitors who come to public gardens do so because of the specific plant collections. Most visitors come for educational programing, spiritual rejuvenation and quiet spaces, or even exercise. Art can be a public garden’s secret weapon in bringing people through the gates that otherwise may not come. Beyond inherent beauty and its power to diversify audiences, art woven into a visitor’s experience cures plant blindness and reinserts the A into STEM curriculum for our children. 


Cultivating Diversity: How Backpacks, GPS Units, and iPods Can Expand Organizational Reach and Encourage Inclusivity

Loaner programs including backpacks with naturalist equipment for children, GPS units for Geocaching, and iPods for Citizen Science, have become a popular and effective way for arboreta and botanical gardens to broaden the impact of their missions and include populations that may not have the financial or physical access to properties. This presentation will discuss the merits of the Loaner Backpack Program at The North Carolina Arboretum and its impacts. 


R. Preyer, The North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville, North Carolina

The Changing Face of America’s Public Garden Spaces and Community Gardens

Public gardens across America are responding to an influx of refugees/immigrants from many parts of the world with edible garden displays showcasing the increased diversity of our visitors. Community gardens and urban agriculture projects that are supported by public gardens across the country are likewise providing increased access to an ever more diverse range of immigrants and resettled refugees. Seeds and traditional farming and gardening techniques from distant regions are now utilized in our gardens. 


A Contemporary View Toward Making Public Gardens Racially Diverse and Equitable

The staff and visitors of many public gardens are less diverse than the communities they serve. Events, policies, and Carl Linnaeus’s categorization of humans have created long-standing barriers. Eve Rickenbaker, PhD student at the University of Washington, will use interviews with African Americans in public gardens in Charleston, South Carolina to describe these barriers and offer solutions to opening the garden gate to all. 


E. Rickenbaker, University of Washington Botanic Gardens, Seattle, Washington

Why Are Soils a Problem in Landscape Design and Construction?

There is a soil-plant continuum—an ecological symbiosis—that is essential for the growth and sustainability of all vegetation. Unfortunately, largely because many factors of the balance in soils are not well understood, soil becomes more of an abstract in horticultural management and often looked at as a dark art. Many horticulturists have treated soil and plants as if they are two different entities. The healthy marriage between plants and soil is inseparable and must be viewed as one living system. 


Gardens Growing Together—Even across the World!

International partnerships have existed since the first botanic garden was created, and they are essential for biodiversity preservation today. Gardens use a wide variety of approaches and receive a lot of different benefits from working with partners and providing leadership in an international context. From connecting to collecting, this session will include diverse perspectives on building plant conservation capacity that make important impacts around the world. 


Farm for the City: Gardening for the Greater Good

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society created a vegetable farm in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia. Visitors engaged with local experts in an exchange of knowledge about growing food and the impacts of community gardens. To engage a broad audience, the farm team represented a diversity of ages, ethnicity, and expertise. The farm hosted 89 programs during the four month installation ranging on topics from flower arranging and soil basics, to social dynamics and health issues, as well as growing 1,250 pounds of produce for a local lunch program. 

Having Uncomfortable Conversations in Beautiful Places

Meaningful conversations leading to change happen in the gray areas of conversation. We must go beyond thinking in terms of black and white and speaking only with people who agree with us. In order to engage people in topics we think are important, we must understand our assumptions and their experiences. In the field of public horticulture, we often encounter people who disagree with us about GMOs, pesticide use, and climate change. At any time engaging with those around you could lead to an uncomfortable conversation. 


How a Public Garden is Redefining Outreach in the Urban Forest

In August 2008, a dangerous pest, the nonnative, invasive Asian longhorned beetle, was discovered in Worcester County, Massachusetts. To contain the infestation, Worcester County was put under quarantine and whole neighborhoods were clear-cut in a matter of weeks, devastating citizens and the urban ecosystem. The Worcester Tree Initiative (WTI), a non-profit organization aided the City of Worcester in reforestation efforts by providing 30,000 free trees.


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