October 2020 News

Save Plants

CENTER FOR PLANT CONSERVATION

Background photo: Mendocino Indian paintbrush (Castilleja mendocinencis) on the Mendocino Headlands.  Photo credit: Caroline (Ruby) Iacuaniello, Center for Plant Conservation.

October 2020 Newsletter

The CPC National Meeting has always been a centerpiece of our plant conservation work and the fine individuals who endeavor to Save Plants.  Despite not being able to be together physically, we managed to capture the essence of our meeting in a virtual way in 2020. Going virtual had its challenges, but it also had some advantages. One of the biggest advantages was that more people from more institutions had the opportunity to attend and learn about the great work that is being accomplished within the network and the great new synthetic collaborations being spearheaded by the National Office. Another fun opportunity created by the virtual platform was the Star Award video for Jennifer Ramp Neale that featured her wonderful colleagues praising her! Our small group discussions also proved to be fun and productive!

Behind the scenes, we appreciated receiving personal kind messages of encouragement and appreciation from our Conservation Officers and Board members! We are grateful to the entire CPC Network for your dedication to Saving Plants and for your support of the CPC vital mission!

Wishing you and your families continued good health and safety,

Joyce Maschinski and the CPC National Office Team

A National Meeting in a New Setting

The CPC National Meeting brings plant conservationists together to share their conservation work and successes, learn from each other, and learn about and contribute to the upcoming projects of CPC. Despite COVID-19, this year was no exception. The meeting, held online from October 8-9 rather than in person in May, successfully connected enthusiastic people to share and learn.

Photo: Johnny Randall, North Carolina Botanic Garden, attends the 2020 CPC National Meeting from home.

A National Meeting in a New Setting

The CPC National Meeting brings plant conservationists together to share their conservation work and successes, learn from each other, and learn about and contribute to the upcoming projects of CPC. Despite COVID-19, this year was no exception. The meeting, held online from October 8-9 rather than in person in May, successfully connected enthusiastic people to share and learn.

With lightning talks, a poster session, breakout groups, a keynote presentation, and more, the event had all the hallmarks of a National Meeting. And, with more than 170 registrants, the event was larger than ever.

The online format and correspondingly low registration fee welcomed a broader attendance. Institutions that could previously send just a single representative were able to have many staff members participate this year. Interested conservationists attended from a wider range of institutions than can typically attend. The conference sessions, answers to questions posed, and recordings of live sessions will be available to attendees on the Whova platform until the end of the year.

As a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions, the conference strove to find a balance of efficient information sharing and interaction. It was not without hiccups: internet connections faltered and lively conversations pushed live sessions overtime. Yet, because the Center for Plant Conservation community is generous and committed, the meeting was a success. Each of the pre-recorded sessions was well-viewed, and some great questions were broached in the comments and the live Q&A sessions. The network is now primed and ready for the next year of conservation activity, including some exciting projects being led by CPC.

Looking forward to 2021, we hope that all attendees will be able to experience the energy of a live event and network in person. If not, however, we have confidence that our strong plant conservation community will adapt, support, and share in creative ways, as it did so well in 2020.

Recognizing the importance of rare plant conservation, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day has been a generous supporter of the Center for Plant Conservation for the past two years. In 2019, Mrs. Meyer’s team members attended the lightning talks at the CPC National Meeting at Chicago Botanic Garden. This year, their kind contribution sponsored CPC’s first virtual National Meeting.

We want to extend a very big thanks to Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Products for their generosity in underwriting the National Meeting.

Mrs. Meyer’s offers a variety of products for home care to body care: including lotions, soaps, surface cleaners, room sprays, candles, and laundry items. Products are thoughtfully formulated with plant-derived ingredients and essential oils.

We want to extend a very big thanks to Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day for their generosity in underwriting the National Meeting this year.

Videos and Education in the Digital Age

With pre-recorded sessions and audio-visual conferencing technologies at the forefront of this year’s conference, it seems fitting that video creation was a centerpiece of the CPC-focused sessions.

Educational, outreach, and training videos continue to be a priority for building content for CPC’s evolving Rare Plant Academy.

In a creative video presentation, CPC staff member Joe Davitt demonstrated a process for generating the storyboards and video content sent to professional video editors working with CPC. His deliberative, well-thought-out approach can be expanded for use by content contributors for CPC’s new Applied Plant Conservation Online Course project. The course builds on the weeklong in-person course formerly conducted in partnership with many CPC members. As an online course, it will be able to effectively repurpose existing visual content created for the Rare Plant Academy. Funded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offices of California, Colorado, and Nevada, the course helps address gaps in the botanical knowledge and experience of BLM staff, and also of contractors, land managers, conservationists, and others who work with our nation’s botanical resources.

To encourage more partners to work towards developing Rare Plant Academy video content, the breakout discussions at this year’s National Meeting centered on developing an outline for videos. Attendees divided into groups focused on six broad topics that ranged from plant advocacy to genetic diversity concepts. Moderators led the groups through the development of an outline. Through CPC’s Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) grant, institutions will receive funding to use the outlines for actual content generation that will be coming soon to the Rare Plant Academy.

The CPC network is fortunate to have the knowledge and tools to expand the skills of people currently working with plants and to train the next generation of rare plant conservationists. The Rare Plant Academy and the developing online course are perfect platforms for sharing that knowledge. We look forward to seeing both grow in the years to come.

On Local Conservation and Global Initiatives – Keynote

How do we actually Save Plants? Everyone involved with the Center for Plant Conservation wants to be able to not only answer this question, but also demonstrate how to accomplish this ambitious goal. As the world finds itself in a biodiversity extinction crisis, our need to find the answers is increasingly pressing.

On Local Conservation and Global Initiatives – Keynote

How do we actually Save Plants? Everyone involved with the Center for Plant Conservation wants to be able to not only answer this question, but also demonstrate how to accomplish this ambitious goal. As the world finds itself in a biodiversity extinction crisis, our need to find the answers is increasingly pressing.

At the global level, efforts such as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and Global Biodiversity Framework generate broad goals and policy instruments. Keynote Speaker George Gann discussed the importance of the link between these broad policies and on-the-ground implementation and practitioners.

George, President and Board Chair of the Institute for Regional Conservation and current International Policy Lead for the Society of Ecological Restoration, argues that it is essential for local knowledge to not only contribute to meeting these global conservation initiatives but are key to their formulation. He points to the need to consider local knowledge in getting the correct data and goals. Using regional datasets can fill gaps in knowledge at a global level. Local, on-the-ground verification and careful attention to historic records are essential to detect changes in rare species occurrences. This is especially important considering taxonomic changes that may happen as a result of concentrated research. Implementing more of this type of integrative work gives us an optimistic outlook for future endeavors.

Quick Talks, Big Subjects

Across six themed sessions, the 2020 National Meeting hosted 24 short virtual presentations in place of the usual lightning talks. These sessions combined video and slide shows with live Q&A, providing opportunities for connection across the network. Staff, students, and partners of our Participating Institutions shared their current work on subjects fundamental to plant conservation. Seed collections were much discussed, ranging from the specialized how-to of collecting orchid seeds to how much and how frequently to collect from small populations.

Photo: Asarum caudatum. Photo credit: Caroline (Ruby) Iacuaniello, Center for Plant Conservation.

Quick Talks, Big Subjects

Across six themed sessions, the 2020 National Meeting hosted 24 short virtual presentations in place of the usual lightning talks. These sessions combined video and slide shows with live Q&A, providing opportunities for connection across the network. Staff, students, and partners of our Participating Institutions shared their current work on subjects fundamental to plant conservation. Seed collections were much discussed, ranging from the specialized how-to collect orchid seeds to how much and how frequently to collect from small populations.

Photo: Asarum caudatum. Photo credit: Caroline (Ruby) Iacuaniello, Center for Plant Conservation.

New Network Project on Seed Longevity

As reflected in many of the research sessions, seed collections are fundamental to much of the conservation work done by CPC Participating Institutions. Their role as an insurance against catastrophic loss is contingent on the seeds surviving cold storage. To stay better informed about the status of rare plant seed collections, CPC is working with the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP) to examine the possibility of using various physical and molecular metrics, including RNA integrity, to measure seed viability.

During a special session, CPC Vice President Katie Heineman, Ph.D., and NLGRP plant physiologist Chris Walters, Ph.D., outlined their ambitious project. Funded by the IMLS, they hope to not only determine the utility of the method for monitoring rare plant seed collections, but also to match plant traits (life histories, habitats, phenology, etc.) with trends in seed longevity. The project depends on the collaboration of the CPC network – working to provide both new and old seeds for the research. Many project participants had questions for the project leads. Whether working on the project or not, members of the CPC network engaged in the session and seemed eager to learn about the life expectancy of their precious seeds.

New Network Project on Seed Longevity

As reflected in many of the research sessions, seed collections are fundamental to much of the conservation work done by CPC Participating Institutions. Their role as an insurance against catastrophic loss is contingent on the seeds surviving cold storage. To stay better informed about the status of rare plant seed collections, CPC is working with the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP) to examine the possibility of using various physical and molecular metrics, including RNA integrity, to measure seed viability.

During a special session, CPC Vice President Katie Heineman, Ph.D., and NLGRP plant physiologist Chris Walters, Ph.D., outlined their ambitious project. Funded by the IMLS, they hope to not only determine the utility of the method for monitoring rare plant seed collections, but also to match plant traits (life histories, habitats, phenology, etc.) with trends in seed longevity. The project depends on the collaboration of the CPC network – working to provide both new and old seeds for the research. Many project participants had questions for the project leads. Whether working on the project or not, members of the CPC network engaged in the session and seemed eager to learn about the life expectancy of their precious seeds.

Capturing the Beauty and Wonder of Plants

Rare is the camera – or phone – amongst botanists that is not filled with plant photos and landscapes. Often serving as good references or helpful for identification, some of them are also simply enchanting. Over 130 such photos were entered into our inaugural CPC National Meeting Photo Contest. Attendees used their downtime to peruse the photos and “like” their favorites to vote in the competition.

Members from our southern states seem to have an eye for composition! The first and second prize winners, Emma Neigel and Lila Uzzell, hail from the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Coming in third, Steven Blackwell from Desert Botanical Garden rounded out the prize winners with his intricate photos featuring seeds. California representatives Naomi Fraga (California Botanic Garden) and Heather Schneider (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden) received honorable mentions.

Here you will discover the top three prize winners and our two honorable mentions, demonstrating how striking plants can be.

Photo of Sarrecenia and spiders

Emma Neigel from Atlanta Botanical Garden took home first prize in the photo contest with her spooky photo featuring two carnivores: pitcher plants (Sarrecenia) and spiders.

Photo of field of scrub blazing star (Liatris tenuifolia)

Taking second place, Lila Uzzell from Atlanta Botanical Garden, shared the exploding field of scrub blazing star (Liatris tenuifolia) that popped up following a 2019 prescribed fire on the Georgia Fall Line Sandhills.

Photo of spiny sepaled button celery (Eryngium spinosepalum)

The rare spiny sepaled button celery (Eryngium spinosepalum) photo by Heather Schneider of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden earned an honorable mention in the photo contest.

Photo of Arizona eryngo (Eryngium sparganophyllum)

Steven Blackwell’s photography setup at Desert Botanic Garden garnered lots of interest with his session, and the results helped him earn a 3rd place finish in the photo contest. Here he is able to show seed from the rare Arizona eryngo (Eryngium sparganophyllum) in remarkable detail.

Photo of aAlkalki mariposa lily (Calochortus striatus)

This photo of the stunning alkalki mariposa lily (Calochortus striatus) earned Naomi Fraga from California Botanic Garden an honorable mention.

CONSERVATION CHAMPION

Jennifer Ramp Neale, Ph.D.,

Director of Research and Conservation, Denver Botanic Gardens

In honor of her commitment to the conservation of the flora of the United States, it is our pleasure to award Jennifer Ramp Neale the 2020 CPC Star Award. The CPC Star Award honors those who demonstrate the concern, cooperation, and personal investment needed to conserve our imperiled native plants.  Her clear communication, science-based recommendations, and collaborations with a broad array of partners have contributed to knowledge of and protection for imperiled native plants in Colorado.  Her efforts have been a shining model for the CPC Network. Congratulations, Jenny!

CONSERVATION CHAMPION

Jennifer Ramp Neale, Ph.D.,

Director of Research and Conservation, Denver Botanic Gardens

In honor of her commitment to the conservation of the flora of the United States, it is our pleasure to award Jennifer Ramp Neale the 2020 CPC Star Award. The CPC Star Award honors those who demonstrate the concern, cooperation, and personal investment needed to conserve our imperiled native plants.  Her clear communication, science-based recommendations, and collaborations with a broad array of partners have contributed to knowledge of and protection for imperiled native plants in Colorado.  Her efforts have been a shining model for the CPC Network. Congratulations, Jenny!

Congratulations on being awarded the CPC Star Award! Is there anything you want to say in response to receiving this reward?
I am honored to be selected as the 2020 Star Award recipient. I am truly surprised and humbled to receive the award. Being selected for my collaboration and communication is really an honor. I am a natural collaborator, and I enjoy working with others and the sense of accomplishment when tackling big projects together. In Denver, we have worked hard to enhance our scientific communication and bring the work we do to a broad audience.

Photo of Jennifer Ramp Neale observing Lasthenia pollinator

Jennifer observing Lasthenia pollinator. Photo credit: Sharon Collinge.

When did you first fall in love with plants?
Growing up in Colorado, I have always spent a lot of time in nature. Our family vacations were always outdoors, camping and skiing. In high school, I worked at a cut-flower farm and loved learning the Latin names of all the plants we grew. When I entered college, I took all the plant classes that were offered and knew that I wanted to work with plants for my career.

What was your career path to Director of Research & Conservation?
My dissertation research focused on examining genetic diversity and pollination in restored populations of the endangered Contra Costa goldfields (Lasthenia conjugens), a CPC National Collection species. I really enjoyed the applied nature of the study. I stayed on at the University of Colorado for a year after finishing my dissertation, furthering my skill set by teaching and working as a conservation genetic consultant. In January 2007, I started as Manager of Conservation programs at Denver Botanic Gardens. I was promoted to Associate Director of Conservation in 2008, then promoted to Director of Research and Conservation in 2010 when my predecessor left the Gardens. As an undergraduate, I had not considered a botanic garden as a place of employment, and I feel so fortunate to have been hired as a Manager here nearly 14 years ago.

What about working with plants has surprised you?
People don’t always realize plants are complicated. Much of my research has examined levels and patterns of genetic diversity in plants. I enjoy hypothesizing the biological meaning behind the data. Are the plants wind-pollinated, pollinated by only a specific species of bee, or are the seeds wind-dispersed? What explains the level of gene flow across the mountain range between populations? Sometimes the story feels straightforward, and other times we do a lot of speculating. Putting the genetic data in an environmental context with all the ecological factors at play makes it even more complex. I am always surprised at how much we can learn about a species and still feel like there is so much more to uncover.

What is one of the biggest challenges to conducting your plant conservation work?
One of the biggest challenges we face in conducting our work is getting more people to care about it. While I feel that we have made great strides in placing science in front of the Denver Botanic Gardens’ audience, we still need to reach more people. Globally, we are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate. As climate change races forward, we need more people to care about the environment and the beauty of the world around them. Too many people wonder why we study plants and the value of biodiversity. Just getting people to understand that there are rare plants in Colorado is a little win, but there is so much more to do.

Please tell me more about one of your current projects at Denver Botanic Gardens.
As the Director of Research and Conservation, I have my hand in many projects, and I am excited about much of what we are doing. I work with an amazing team of scientists and students, and the integration of natural history collections with ecological data is ground-breaking. We work collaboratively to blend our expertise within projects in order to provide land managers with a comprehensive assessment of their lands and the biodiversity they hold. We have been improving data standards across our projects to allow for easier integration across multiple projects, expanding the versatility of those data. We’ve been thinking big data and the big picture – and it’s exciting!

Photo of Lasthenia conjugens field work

Lasthenia conjugens field work. Photo credit: Sharon Collinge.

What emerging science (methods, approaches, discoveries) excites you most?
The ability to ask really complicated genetic questions has expanded so much over just the last few years. The methods available to students now were not around when I was a student, and it is both exciting and daunting to try to keep up as technology advances. But I find the availability of open data to be most exciting. Having access to large data sets will allow researchers everywhere to ask more complicated and nuanced questions than we can ask with just our own data sets. We can now model seed harvest impacts across life-history traits with these large datasets in a way that we simply couldn’t before. Our work will become more efficient and have a bigger impact over time as a result of open data.

What has it meant to you to be a member of the CPC network?
Having been part of the network for 14 years, I understand deeply the honor that comes with being selected as a Star Award winner. The network provides a community for those of us who occupy the professional space between academia and agency work. I remember feeling intimidated heading in to my first National Meeting, only to realize that many of the attendees were in organizations similar to mine and dealt with the same types of projects and problems. The network provides me with colleagues I can call to talk through permitting, government contracting, seed collection and storage, and anything else I have questions about. The network is more than a collection of like-minded scientists sharing ideas – it really is a family. And I am grateful to be a part of it.

Photo of Jennifer Ramp Neale conducting fieldwork

Jennifer (left) in the field studying Corispermum navicula.

Photo of Jennifer Ramp Neale conducting fieldwork with baby in tow

Jennifer conducting fieldwork with baby in tow.

Photo of Jennifer Ramp Neale conducting research at Denver Botanic Gardens

Conducting research at Denver Botanic Gardens.

Photo of Dr. Neale conducting a workshop on Strawberry DNA

Jennifer conducts a workshop on Strawberry DNA as part of the Denver Botanic Gardens public outreach.

All photos courtesy of Dr. Neale unless otherwise noted.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Conservation Ecologist Coordinator Position | Atlanta Botanical Garden

Location: Atlanta Botanical Garden: Atlanta, Georgia

Status: Full-time, exempt

The Atlanta Botanical Garden invites applications for Conservation Ecology Coordinator for the Southeastern Center for Conservation within the Department of Conservation & Research. The successful candidate’s primary role will be to serve as the lead and coordinator for key conservation projects, reporting to the Conservation & Research Manager. Areas of focus can include botanical and ecosystem exploration focusing on rare and imperiled taxa, restoration ecology, ex situ conservation, and/or comparable fields in plant conservation.

SEE MORE INFO

Field Biologist – Atlanta Botanical Garden

Reports to: Conservation Ecology Coordinator

Location: Atlanta

FLSA status: Full time/Exempt

Revision date: 10/1/2020

The Field Biologist will work as part of the Conservation & Research Department team at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. They will work under the direction of the Conservation Ecology Coordinator for 75%, and the Restoration Coordinator for 25% of their time, and will report administratively to the Conservation Ecology Coordinator.

SEE MORE INFO

Rare Plant Technician | Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s Rare Plant Conservation Team is expanding! We are hiring a full-time Rare Plant Technician for a one-year position with an emphasis on field and greenhouse work, with an emphasis on seed processing during the winter months.

SEE MORE INFO

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Support CPC by Using AmazonSmile

As many of us are now working from home and relying on home delivery more and more, we wanted to remind you that you can keep your home stocked AND SavePlants. If you plan to shop online, please consider using AmazonSmile.

AmazonSmile offers all of the same items, prices, and benefits of its sister website, Amazon.com, but with one distinct difference. When you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation contributes 0.05 percent of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. (Center for Plant Conservation).

There is no cost to charities or customers, and 100 percent of the donation generated from eligible purchases goes to the charity of your choice.

AmazonSmile is very simple to use—all you need is an Amazon account. On your first visit to the AmazonSmile site, you will be asked to log in to your Amazon account with existing username and password (you do not need a separate account for AmazonSmile). You will then be prompted to choose a charity to support. During future visits to the site, AmazonSmile will remember your charity and apply eligible purchases towards your total contribution—it is that easy!

If you do not have an Amazon account, you can create one on AmazonSmile.

Once you have selected Center for Plant Conservation as your charity, you are ready to start shopping. However, you must be logged into smile.amazon.com—donations will not be applied to purchases made on the Amazon.com main site or mobile app. It is also important to remember that not everything qualifies for AmazonSmile contributions.

So, stay safe inside, and when ordering online, remember you can still help save plants. Please feel free to share this email with your friends and family and ask them to select Center for Plant Conservation.

Thank you all for ALL you do.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Support CPC by Using AmazonSmile

As many of us are now working from home and relying on home delivery more and more, we wanted to remind you that you can keep your home stocked AND SavePlants. If you plan to shop online, please consider using AmazonSmile.

AmazonSmile offers all of the same items, prices, and benefits of its sister website, Amazon.com, but with one distinct difference. When you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation contributes 0.05 percent of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. (Center for Plant Conservation).

There is no cost to charities or customers, and 100 percent of the donation generated from eligible purchases goes to the charity of your choice.

AmazonSmile is very simple to use—all you need is an Amazon account. On your first visit to the AmazonSmile site, you will be asked to log in to your Amazon account with existing username and password (you do not need a separate account for AmazonSmile). You will then be prompted to choose a charity to support. During future visits to the site, AmazonSmile will remember your charity and apply eligible purchases towards your total contribution—it is that easy!

If you do not have an Amazon account, you can create one on AmazonSmile.

Once you have selected Center for Plant Conservation as your charity, you are ready to start shopping. However, you must be logged into smile.amazon.com—donations will not be applied to purchases made on the Amazon.com main site or mobile app. It is also important to remember that not everything qualifies for AmazonSmile contributions.

So, stay safe inside, and when ordering online, remember you can still help save plants. Please feel free to share this email with your friends and family and ask them to select Center for Plant Conservation.

Thank you all for ALL you do.

The Center for Plant Conservation Newsletter
Contributing Editor/Writer – Christa Horn.
Editors: Cindy Clark and Kathy Elliot.
Managing Editor – Maureen Wilmot.
Design and Development –  Forest Design LLC.

Thank you for helping us Save Plant species facing extinction by making your gift to CPC through our secure donation Portal!

Donate

If you would like to receive more news like this please sign up below

SIGN UP
2020-10-29T19:12:57+00:00