U.S. Botanic Garden + ASPB = Creating a Plant Presence

ASPB is leading a team to produce public outreach and education materials for use in the U.S. Botanic Garden, the USA Science and Engineering Festival and beyond.

The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) in Washington, DC, and ASPB – through its Education Committee, will collaborate on a new project to educate the public about the diverse topics and careers under the umbrella of plant science. The overarching goal is to help people better appreciate plant science and its important connections to everyday life and a sustainable future.

The team’s primary objective is to develop five educational hands-on activities and materials which will be distributed to the public via science festivals and other hands-on educational settings across the country. While the five activities can be combined to create a substantial ‘plant presence’ at larger events, each activity also will work for independent explorations. The target audience is third to ninth graders; at least one activity will be scalable for audiences outside that range.

With an emphasis on fun, the activities will be science-based and educational as well as involving fields such as agronomy, bioinformatics, biotechnology, ecology, ethnobotany, forestry, horticulture, lichenology, paleobotany, physiology, phytochemistry, plant biology, plant pathology and plant systematics.

Pursuant to ASPB’s ongoing initiatives which align with the USBG’s mission to demonstrate the cultural, economic and ecological importance of plants to the well-being of humankind, USBG staff will take an active role in the development, evaluation and dissemination of the activities. ASPB will organize several other affiliates to create, pilot, and evaluate the activities. To date, the named affiliates are:

  • Botanical Society of America
  • Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Society of Economic Botany

The activities are slated to be piloted and evaluated at the 2016 USA Science & Engineering Festival (April 15-17).

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