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Abstract Detail



Teaching Section

Butko, Alicia F. [1], Goodrich, Katherine R. [2].

Cataloging local flora as a resource for undergraduate field labs and the local community.

Plant blindness refers to the scientific illiteracy of the general public concerning plants and plant biology. This is especially seen in urban areas where residents, particularly children, may have limited opportunities to identify, grow, and learn about plants which occur locally and/or impact their daily lives (such as plants with horticultural or agricultural importance). This phenomenon has a detrimental effect on our overall culture and society. In this project, we are working to catalogue native herbaceous plants growing at a local arboretum. The arboretum serves as a community resource to the city of Chester, PA, as well as a resource for multiple outdoor laboratories for Widener University; however, the arboretum does not possess an inventory of these native herbaceous plants. We have collected, identified, and prepared herbarium vouchers for 45 specimens including 36 species from 21 genera in the native plant garden. Additionally, we have generated a digital image checklist of flowering plants with detailed morphological descriptions for each specimen. Widener University biology students (approx. 60-100 students per semester) will have access to the digital checklist and collected specimen vouchers in the herbarium for identification of plants during field labs in a number of undergraduate Biology Environmental Science courses. The digital checklist (and laminated herbarium specimens) will also be made available to the arboretum staff for community education initiatives. In the future, we hope to expand this checklist to all plants at the arboretum and to continue to work collaboratively with arboretum staff to better educate the local community and combat plant blindness in Chester.


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1 - Widener University, Biology, Kirkbride Hall, 1 University Place, Chester, PA, 19013, USA
2 - Widener University, Department Of Biological Sciences, Kirkbride Hall, 1 University Place, Chester, PA, 19013, USA

Keywords:
plant blindness
science outreach
undergraduate education.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 34
Location: Salon 9/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: 34012
Abstract ID:603
Candidate for Awards:None


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