Archive for the ‘Horticulture’ category

Report: Researchers Say Children Need Green Plant Interventions

April 11, 2011

This is an article from the Green Local 175 in Rome/Utica:

Helsinki, Finland (SPX) Apr 5, 2011

Could “interventions” bring children closer to nature? Researchers in Finland think so. A new study published in HortTechnology compares urban and rural children’s relationships with plants and recommends horticultural interventions, especially for urban children. In Finland, a country famous for its forests and wilderness, researchers Taina Laaksoharju from the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Helsinki and Erja Rappe of The Martha Association teamed up to investigate the role of vegetation in the lives of urban and rural children. “We were interested in finding out if it is true that children are not interested in plants or playing outdoors”, they noted. The study examined the relationships of 9- and 10-year-old Finnish school children to the environment and plants. Using a questionnaire of structured and open-ended questions, the researchers focused on two comparisons: children’s relationships with nature in rural and urban neighborhoods, and preferences for plants among boys and girls. 76 children-42 in the Helsinki suburb area and 34 in a rural area-participated in the study.

Results suggested that children living in rural surroundings had closer contact with nature than their urban counterparts. For example, more rural children considered people to be “part of nature” than did urban children. The researchers noted that, like children in other Western countries, Finnish children may be in danger of losing direct contact with the natural environment. “This suggests that further research is essential to understand children’s experiences if we are to enhance the crucial role of the environment in their lives”, they wrote. The children’s answers indicated that natural areas are important arenas for children’s free play and socializing. “In the suburbs, closer connections to nature are rare; interventions in schools, especially outdoor horticultural ones, can help children to build their relationship to vegetation.” The research also showed significant differences in the ways boys and girl experience green plants. Girls were more interested in plants in general, and were more eager to learn about plants than were the boys. Boys saw themselves as more independent of nature; more than 30% of the boys said that they could live without vegetation. Boys wrote that plants are meaningful mainly for nutrition and general living conditions, whereas girls appreciated the beauty of flowers and plants.

Laaksoharju and Rappe included recommendations for delivery of horticultural lessons based on remarks from the 9- and 10-year-old boys, who said that they did not like lectures, but enjoyed working with plants. “Learning by doing in an informal learning environment suits the kinesthetic boys better than sitting at a desk listening to a teacher”, they said. “Horticultural interventions can be effective starting points to add to children’s knowledge, affection, and interest toward greenery, but it is highly recommended that they take place outdoors rather than indoors.” The complete study and abstract are available at : http://horttech.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/20/4/689

The New York Flora Association supports any program that will get kids out into nature to learn plants. Let us know if you are aware of any in New York and we will post them.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center Recommended Plants for New York

February 18, 2011

Visit THEIR WEBSITE to see a list of New York commercially available native plants suitable for planned landscapes.  We have not gone through the list to see how good it is but maybe some of our readers can comment. They have a lot of nice photos however.

Report: Only 39 percent of North American endangered plant species are protected in collections.

February 7, 2011

Washington, D.C. – Only 39 percent of the nearly 10,000 North American plant species threatened with extinction are protected by being maintained in collections, according to the first comprehensive listing of the threatened plant species in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Seed banks or living collections maintained by public gardens and conservation organizations across North America provide an insurance policy against extinction for many threatened species.

The North American Collections Assessment – conducted collaboratively by Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S., the U.S. Botanic Garden, and Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum – found that 3,681 of 9,494 of North America’s most threatened plant species are maintained in 230 collections. Much more collaborative work is needed to conserve North America’s botanical wealth and to provide true protection against extinction, says the report, Conserving North America’s Threatened Plants, released this week

Andrea Kramer, Botanic Gardens Conservation International U.S. executive director, said, “These assessment results are hopeful, but also a call to action. For many public gardens, this report marks the first time their potential to assist in the conservation effort has been recognized. We hope this is a watershed moment.”

“As the U.S. Botanic Garden, we felt a critical need for a common baseline of understanding among the entire conservation community,” said Ray Mims, one of the authors. “To move forward together to protect North America’s native plants, we have to understand where we are today. Now that we know both what is threatened and what needs to be protected, there is a solid foundation on which to build future conservation work.”

“One of the lessons we learned from this assessment is how important it is to curate for conservation,” said Michael Dosmann, curator of living collections at the Arnold Arboretum. “Curators and horticulturists have not always considered conservation value as they go about their routines. Yet by participating in this assessment, many for the very first time saw the direct value of their plants in bolstering efforts to conserve our threatened flora. We hope this becomes a new paradigm in collections management.”

Assessment results indicate that North America did not reach the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation’s (GSPC) Target 8 goal set in 2002 of protecting 60 percent of threatened plant species in collections by 2010. While botanical organizations across Canada, Mexico and the United States are making progress to achieve these targets, the report found that 3,500 or more additional threatened plant species will need to be added to current collections to meet the new GSPC goal of conserving 75 percent of known threatened species in North America by 2020. This will require nearly doubling the current capacity.

The assessment calls for the strengthening of conservation networks and collaboration in conservation planning and data sharing. Institutions are urged to contribute plant lists to BGCI’s PlantSearch database and update them regularly. It is crucial to increase cooperation and coordination among a broad and diverse network of gardens and conservation organizations with different expertise and resources. To win this race against extinction, conservation organizations will need to prioritize the development of genetically diverse and secure collections to ensure meaningful protection of threatened plants.

Additional information and the full report can be found at www.bgci.org/usa/MakeYourCollectionsCount

Collecting Milkweed Seed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

January 23, 2011

Here is a video that features Dr. Gerry Moore demonstrating how they collect seed and press plants at the garden.

Invasive Gnomes Becoming a Problem

January 21, 2011

To stay in tune with the coming gnome movie (Gnomeo and Juliet) we found a video to help you control what may be a growing problem.  When it comes to invasives we all need some comic relief.- Steve Young

 

State Rare Plants Featured on Green Roof at SUNY ESF in Syracuse

January 5, 2011

When the new Gateway Building is finished that the campus of SUNY ESF it will feature a green roof containing New York’s largest living collection of state protected and rare plants, according to the Inside ESF magazine. – Steve Young

For more details and the full article CLICK HERE. Or see the entire issue HERE.

ESF Gateway Building when it is completed

State Rare Plants Featured on Green Roof at SUNY ESF

January 5, 2011

When the new Gateway Building is finished on the the campus of SUNY ESF it will feature a green roof containing New York’s largest living collection of state protected and rare plants, according to the alumni magazine.

For more details and the full article CLICK HERE.

ESF Gateway Building when finished