Teaching Plant Conservation Techniques

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I write these words from Berkeley California, where I've come to teach two modules of the week-long course in Applied Plant Conservation offered by the Center for Plant Conservation.  Over the past few years, I've taught parts of this course in Phoenix, Hawaii and Denver.  This time our venue is the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden.  Some of the folks in the class work for federal agencies, including the Dept of Defense, the National Park Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  There are also graduate students and 3 women from Mexico.  

Classes for the workshop span the important issues in plant conservation from policy and planning to ex situ conservation, genetics, demography and measuring success of conservation actions. My topics are monitoring and in situ conservation for which I have ~8 hrs of classroom and hands-on activities.   Today I spent time planning the outdoor portion of the workshop scheduled for Saturday.  I tailor the activity to the particular site and the wonderful plants growing there.  The prediction is that the weather is going to be cold and rainy on Saturday, so while I will have something planned for outdoors, I'm also planning a back up set of exercises for indoors.  The UC Berkeley Botanic Garden is beautiful, so I really hope the sky will clear up so that these hard working students can get outside!  Practicing the techniques with real situations is the best way to prepare students for the real world they will face when they return to the work in their own regions.  

Right now I'm appreciating being indoors because I'm cold.  My luggage did not arrive with me last night.  Luckily I had some warm clothing packed into my carry-on luggage, but I still was glad to pull out the polypropylene stuff from my luggage when it arrived this afternoon!  Not to mention that the activities and the equipment I need for the classes were IN the suitcase.  Whew!  I'm glad they made it!  

I’ll let you know how it goes.