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Resilience: The 2023 Student Plant Research Exhibit

There is no predetermined theme for the annual Student Plant Research Exhibits, yet a strong theme of resilience emerged across the works submitted this year. Given the ever-increasing pressure of global climate change, it is no surprise today’s plant researchers have this context at the forefront of their work. But interwoven throughout research confronting the challenges of climate change are efforts to pay attention to plants hitherto overlooked in small pockets in the region, while fostering playfulness alongside that resilience.

The nine projects included in this year’s exhibit are presented below in three groupings related to scale. The first group consists of efforts to better understand and meet local needs. The second explores microsites in the hopes of gaining new insights into the challenges faced by this region as a whole. Finally, several projects more directly confront the challenges of climate change, using multiple sites to explore questions of resilience and adaptation.

Understanding and Meeting Local Needs

“The principles of ecological resilience guide our practices and we hope a better understanding of this process will grow appreciation for native plant nurseries.”

Lea Dyga

“I’m a sustainability research nerd, reflective thinker, street breaking dancer and self-proclaimed landscape ‘game’ designer trying to bridge edible landscape with a broader audience in a playful platform.”

Sihong Zhu

Regional Microsites

“After this past field season, we had surveyed a cluster of peaks relatively close together, which inspired the floristic similarity comparisons I analyze in my poster.”

Sophia Ronan

“We want to learn more about why this plant grows where it does so that we can protect its existing populations and hopefully create new ones!”

Danielle Horne

“The alpine zone has been underrepresented in Herbarium records but presents a unique opportunity to study climate change.”

Ava Jeanne Gutheil

“The geologic and climatic diversity unique to Washington state has resulted in the evolution of fascinating and beautiful rare floral species that grow nowhere else on earth.”

Maya Kahn-Abrams

Climate Challenges

“There are so many unseen and taken for granted aspects of plants, that the acts of observing and investigating these is continuously intriguing.”

Miro Stuke

“I’m excited to share my project in this exhibit because as droughts in the Western U.S. become more prevalent, it will be important to conserve water while also having beautiful gardens.”

Allison Fron

“With just a little magnification the morphology of leaves becomes a whole new world to explore. I hope to share this amazement and inspire viewers to think about how plants engage with and are affected by the environment from a new perspective.”

Miro Stuke