The UW Botanic Gardens Climate Change Garden is doing more than monitoring the effects of a changing climate on plant growth and survival. (What’s the Climate Change Garden?) It’s part of a nationwide climate change education initiative entitled Floral Report Card.
Sponsored by Chicago Botanic Garden, Floral Report Card aims to integrate existing phenology citizen science programs into elementary, middle and high school classrooms through garden replication on school grounds. The UWBG Climate Change Garden serves as the model demonstration garden for teachers, students and community members in our region who want to be involved in the Floral Report Card project. The project is currently funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) planning grant that supports collaborative development for adapting Climate Change Gardens and related curricula and technology for schools, teachers and students.
Floral Report Card program implementation is in its planning stages, and recruitment of interested educators and community members is underway. In May, Master of Environmental Horticulture Candidate Allison McCarthy will host a teacher focus group with local educators who have expressed interest in being a part of the Climate Change Garden.
Educational goals of the Floral Report Card include:
- Engaging formal education institutions and communities in citizen science, field studies, and scientific research skills;
- Increasing visitor awareness of climate and climate change impacts;
- Understanding the social, cultural, and economic effects of climate change;
- Understanding how plants and people can mitigate the effects of climate change;
- Bringing more botany into the formal education curriculum; and
- Nurturing and empowering students and citizen scientists to be “local experts” on climate change.
Allison McCarthy and Washington Park Arboretum Education Supervisor Patrick Mulligan are presenting at the “Cool School Challenge Training Workshop with a Special Focus on Climate Change and Plants” Saturday, May 1, at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Registration is currently open for this workshop.
Content by Allison McCarthy. Photos by Jennifer Youngman.
Top left: Species are laid out for planting in the Climate Change Garden. Top right: Allison McCarthy plants one of 16 raised beds in the UWBG’s Climate Change Garden.