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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Keeler, Kathleen [1].

Popular Botany and the Baby Boomers.

Over the next 16 years, the baby boom generation, born between 1945 and 1964, will reach retirement age. They currently make up 1/4 of both the U.S. and Canadian populations, 77 million and 9 million people respectively. Few of these people have taken formal botany courses but many of them interact regularly with plants in their yards, gardens or as house plants. As baby boomers have more time, they will pursue their interests. In many cases, those will include botany.
Beyond simple advice on how to grow a plant or control weeds, there will be an expanding group wanting to understand more about plants and to link advice and observation to botanical principles. Other people will want to know what is native to their area, be excited to see domesticated plants growing in their natural habitat, and generally enrich their lives with plants.
In 2013, disappointed that tours rarely pointed out great plants, I became a popular science writer featuring plants. I began with a blog, A Wandering Botanist, writing about plants, travel and history. You never know where a blog goes, but when I speak locally, often I am addressing seniors. Of my blog posts the most popular are the ones that describe the conventions for writing scientific and common names—they get the most hits, week after week. I will review this and other observations from my experience as plant science blogger and speaker.
There is a lot of bad botany online so more sound botany is needed both online and where people can comfortably ask questions. Combining accuracy and simplicity is an ongoing challenge.
Along with retirement comes the leisure to pursue the interests acquired over a lifetime. In the coming decade, a large group of people will have time to look for information about plants and discover entertaining plant stories that they had no idea existed. Since people find information in diverse ways, we need multiple voices providing popular plant information. And its great fun!

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Related Links:
A Wandering Botanist blog
A Wandering Botanist homepage

1 - A Wandering Botanist, 2527 Indian Hills Drive, Loveland, CO, 80538, USA

science outreach
botany blogs
communicating science
popular botany.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 34
Location: Salon 9/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: 34009
Abstract ID:268
Candidate for Awards:None

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