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So What? - Using Interpretive Themes to Improve All Aspects of Visitor Experience

A strong interpretive theme statement provides a clear big idea and the "so what" message that can help deepen visitor experience. Interpretive themes are typically used for signage projects and programming, but they can be used for so much more. In this session, we will explore a case study of how a garden used an interpretive theme statement to implement their annual theme project titled "Come to Your Senses" in marketing, horticultural displays, events, and programs.


Jennifer Dick, RBG Ontario

Pamela Murray, Milner Gardens

Conversation: COVID-19’s Effect on Public Gardens and Arboreta

The COVID-19 pandemic hit public gardens and arboreta in a variety of ways. Many institutions had to shut down entirely. Most retained skeleton crews onsite to maintain plants, though no visitors would be able to appreciate them. Others, like the Arnold Arboretum, kept their landscapes open with limited staffing, but could provide no facilities or visitor support services.

Botanical Gardens in a Time of Crisis: Targeted Results from a National Study of Attenders and the Public

Soon after coronavirus started spreading in the United States, Slover Linett and LaPlaca Cohen collaborated to launch a large-scale audience research study to help inform decision making in arts and culture organizations, including public gardens. The need and demand for this type of insight was made abundantly clear by the overwhelming interest from organizations willing to participate in the survey—more than 650 arts and culture organizations in the United States provided their audiences lists to include in the survey resulting in a sample size of more than 120,000.

New guidance for tracking long-term tree survival, growth, and health

Field monitoring of urban trees is essential to learn how urban forests change over time. Many arborists and urban forest managers worldwide seek to understand how their tree systems are faring in terms of growth, health, and mortality. The Urban Tree Growth & Longevity Working Group of the International Society of Arboriculture has developed standard protocols and effective strategies for long-term data collection. This new guidance, which includes a Field Guide, Resource Guide, and companion training videos, gives detailed instructions for how to record a small set of variables consis

Education Community Town Hall: Pivoting School Field Trips

While many public gardens are open for visitors, many schools started the fall teaching remotely or having limited in-school time. Educators are thinking of and creating ways to continue to serve school groups amidst the ongoing pandemic. A number of gardens are switching to virtual field trips; some are hosting small groups on site. We’ll explore the changing scene in offering school programs. Kathy Johnson of Chicago Botanic Garden and Karin Davidson-Taylor with Royal Botanical Gardens will share what they have planned.

Reimagining Individual Giving During and Beyond COVID-19

Historically, in the U.S., individual giving has been the biggest source of private giving. According to Giving USA, “American individuals, bequests, foundations, and corporations gave an estimated $449.64 billion to U.S. charities in 2019” and individual giving “totaled an estimated $309.66 billion, rising 4.7% in 2019” representing 69% of total giving.  

In Her Shoes: Stories, Insights & Perspectives from Women of Color in Philanthropy

The Soul of Philanthropy Cleveland in partnership with Candid Midwest is hosting “In Her Shoes – Stories, Insights, and Perspectives from Women of Color. This special event includes a dynamic panel of women of color; trustees, foundation presidents, staff, development officers and others who have navigated the field, persisted and produced impact for communities through their role in philanthropy.

Design Principles for Online EE Programs

What does research say about promising approaches to online EE programs? Our team shares results from a systematic literature review conducted to identify what approaches appear to work best for virtual EE field trips and activities. Learn about evidence-based design principles that can be integrated into your fall programs.

Eileen Merritt, Virginia Tech

Marc J. Stern, Virginia Tech

Bob Powell, Clemson University

B. Troy Frensley, University of North Carolina Wilmington

The Arkansas Native Seed Program

The “Natural Areas as Seeds for Restoration: The Arkansas Native Seed Program” webinar was recorded and is now available to view on the NAA’s YouTube channel. The webinar discusses the history and inspiration for the ANSP, goals, funding, partnerships, seed collection, seed processing, and volunteers. It goes into greater detail about the work that has been completed and future goals for the program. The webinar was made available to view at no cost by the Plant Conservation and Restoration Program at the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.


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