Stevenson Swanson is the Associate Director of Public Relations at The New York Botanical Garden.
As part of The New York Botanical Garden’s ongoing project to document all of the plant life of New York City, the Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation Strategy recently issued a new report, State of New York City’s Plants 2018, the first in what is envisioned as an annual overview of the status of the city’s spontaneous plant species—that is, native plants and non-native plants that have become established in the five boroughs.
The report, which was released at NYBG’s First Annual EcoFlora Conference, found that 2,029 plant species have been reported in New York City from 1807 to 2018. The most species-rich families are the grasses, daisies, and sedges.
At the other end of the spectrum are rare and endangered plants. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which tracks threatened and endangered plant and animal species, ranks six New York City plant species as critically endangered worldwide, including four species of ash trees, the American chestnut tree, and Bayard’s Adder’s-Mouth orchid. Adding in New York City species that are considered rare, threatened, endangered or extinct by the U. S. government and New York State, some 13 percent of the city’s flora is imperiled or has gone extinct.
Stevenson Swanson is the Science Media Manager at The New York Botanical Garden.
From anchoring the ecosystems of many North American forests to providing the wood commonly used in baseball bats, the American ash tree is a majestic and important part of this continent’s woodlands. Now, however, it faces a mortal crisis as an invasive beetle spreads from the Upper Midwest into the northeastern United States and Canada, leaving millions of dead ash trees in its wake.
Nearly 100 percent of ashes infested with ash borers die. The threat is so grave that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently added six North American ash species to its widely respected Red List of threatened species. It declared five of the six critically endangered, a category that is one step from extinction.
On Friday, October 13, 2017, The New York Botanical Garden will bring together four experts to discuss the natural and cultural history of the ash and the peril it faces in Saving the American Ash Summit. The summit will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Ross Hall at the Botanical Garden.
In addition to examining the threats to the American ash, the summit will address how homeowners, nature enthusiasts, and stewards of natural areas can work to save these beloved trees.
Stevenson Swanson is the Science Media Manager at The New York Botanical Garden.
The New York Botanical Garden’s first Before the Green is Gone: Sustainability Summit and Dinner was held at multiple sites around the Botanical Garden on Wednesday, June 14. The event was held not only to honor those who have played central roles in sustainability initiatives at the Garden and around the world but also to advance public discussion of issues at the heart of building a more sustainable world.
Three concurrent sessions on critical sustainability subjects—water, forestry, and energy—featured experts from the worlds of business, research, advocacy, and philanthropy. Held at active conservation sites around the Garden, the information-packed sessions offered speakers the opportunity to share challenges and discuss practical solutions to these important issues.
Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library, where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.
“Plants and People” was the theme of a Wikipedia edit-a-thon that The New York Botanical Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library hosted in January. Editors and organizers focused on creating and enhancing Wikipedia articles about women in science, specifically biographical articles of female ethnobotanists, plant taxonomists, and plant collectors. For this event, the special collections of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library were used extensively, allowing for analog biographical information about important women in science to be shared with the world through Wikipedia.
This was the second edit-a-thon at NYBG during the past year, and organizers benefited from the expertise and assistance of expert Wikipedia editors from the Wikimedia NYC chapter. Wikimedia, the foundation that supports the work of Wikipedia and its sister projects worldwide, posted a story about the event, including a video, on its blog.
Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library, where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office.
On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., the LuEsther T. Mertz Library will host a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon focused on creating and enhancing articles for Women in Science. Specifically, we will be highlighting female scientists.
This NYBG Edit-A-Thon is a part of a week of Wikipedia editing events hosted by the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL). Other participating institutions include Mt. Cuba Centerand the University of New Mexico. The theme for this series of Edit-A-Thons is “Plants and People.” At NYBG, library staff has elected to focus on creating biographical Wikipedia articles for women who work within several areas of botany—ethnobotany, taxonomy, and plant collecting.
Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.
On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., the LuEsther T. Mertz Library will be hosting a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon focused on creating and sprucing up pages for botanists who have made significant collections in New York State.
Editors are welcome to use the vast historic collections of the Mertz Library to create and edit pages. For those who aren’t familiar with Wikipedia’s editing process, we’ll be offering training to help you get started, and editors of all skill levels are welcome to join in.*
Index Herbariorum and KE EMu, the herbarium collections database at NYBG, were used as starting points to build a list of New York State’s most notable plant collectors. This field has been male-dominated, historically, so we’re making every effort to promote better representation of female botanists. Help us share their contributions with the world!
*Attendees must bring a laptop to this event. Please note that training for new editors will be offered during the first hour of this event. New editors should plan on attending this training. Experienced editors are welcome to arrive at any point during this event’s duration.
A capacity audience filled the Ross Lecture Hall last week for The New York Botanical Garden’s Native Plants Summit, at which leading experts from academia, conservation groups, and private consulting practices discussed the current status, conservation, and outlook for the native plants of the Northeast.
In his welcoming remarks, Gregory Long, Chief Executive Officer and the William C. Steere Sr. President of the Botanical Garden, said that the Garden had been involved in studying and collecting the native plants of North America since its founding in 1891. He noted that the Garden’s founder, Nathaniel Lord Britton, had co-authored the first edition of a landmark flora of the plants of northeastern North America, the latest edition of which is now being prepared by the Garden scientist who organized the summit, Robert Naczi, Ph.D.
At the recent 34th annual Founders Corporate Dinner, The New York Botanical Garden saluted two generous funders—Google Inc. and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation—for their support of NYBG’s leading role in World Flora Online (WFO), a global project to create the definitive online scientific resource about plants.
NYBG Board member Sigourney Weaver presented the Garden’s Founders Award to Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, in appreciation of Google’s major financial and technical support for the Garden’s work on WFO.
In accepting the award, Schmidt said WFO would be “open, free, and available forever” and called it “a genuine sea change. All of us at Google love this partnership!”
The 14th Annual Winter Lecture Series kicks off this Thursday, January 30, with Kirstenbosch—The Most Beautiful Garden in Africa, a much-anticipated talk by Brian J. Huntley. As one of the world’s leading conservation scientists, he will be speaking about that stunningly beautiful Cape Town botanical garden and the long history of botanical exploration in southern Africa, home of one of the world’s most diverse—and endangered—floras.
A couple of weeks ago, I called Professor Huntley—among his many other titles and endeavors, he’s an emeritus professor of botany at the University of Cape Town—at his home in South Africa to ask him about his upcoming visit to The New York Botanical Garden, the first stop on an American speaking tour.
“The core component of my lecture will deal with the unusually rich flora of South Africa and how it has been developed and displayed at Kirstenbosch,” said Professor Huntley, who promises his talk will be “profusely illustrated” with images of Kirstenbosch’s gorgeous gardens, as well as individual species and families of plants. “One purpose of the trip is to give people a sense of what they’d see if they came to South Africa.”