Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail

Grab that Research Baton and Teach: Bessey Award Winners

Wandersee, James [1].

How can botanic gardens help us prevent plant blindness?

Getting a person's attention is not easy these days. Our research studies have previously shown that the general public, especially in first-world nations and in large cities, often exhibits what we have termed plant blindness--the failure of people consciously to notice, understand, and value the plants around them. By 2007, the world's urban population exceeded the number of people living in rural areas for the first time in history. Plant blindness is indeed on the increase, in spite of the fact that, as the RBG-Kew reminds us, all life depends on plants. Enigmatically, if we cannot turn the urban public's attention to plants, how can our carefully crafted botany education efforts possibly be successful? In contrast to the rather reserved approaches that botanic gardens employ to draw visitors, Hollywood studios use theater marquees worldwide to attract attention to their latest movies. Marquee is the name given to the large sign overhanging a theater entrance announcing the current attraction, with bold and colorful text surrounded by bright, flashing lights. At Botany 2001, a report by our research group introduced and defined the term marquee plant as: 1. A plant species that strongly attracts the public's attention and invites its direct observation; 2. A plant species that, during some or all of its life cycle, is capable of drawing a crowd at a botanic garden; 3. A plant species that may serve as a portal to increasing public understanding of plants. Since then, we have expanded our research-based characterization and knowledge of marquee plants, and have documented the linkages between attracting people's attention to plants and expanding the urban public's understanding of plants.

Broader Impacts:

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - Louisiana State University, Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice, Graduate Studies in Biology Education, 223 Peabody Hall, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, USA

plant blindness theory
botanic gardens
marquee plant.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY10
Location: Lenox Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: SY10003
Abstract ID:124

Copyright 2000-2011, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved