As an endangered plant biologist with a state agency, I have been watching the growth of the CPC consortium for two decades. The majority of my experience has been with staff and programs of the Chicago Botanical Garden. Their mission is wider than ex situ propagation. Our program has turned informally to colleagues in member institutions for guidance in locating experts, information on species taxonomy, and climate change modeling. The Chicago Garden's annual symposia are one of the best opportunities for plant conservation professionals to gain exposure to the work of colleagues and new issues in plant conservation. However, CPC is not the only organization that addresses rare plant conservation. We have been lucky in the level of dialogue we've established with the Chicago Botanical Garden. As an outside professional reviewer, my greatest concern is that recognition of the complementary role of other NGOs and agencies by CPC affiliates appears to be a bit erratic.
I first heard of the Center for Plant Conservation throught the Garden Club of America's Partners for Plants. The latter project was held only on federal lands where groups of members helped botanists maintain and monitor at-risk plants in their habitat. These efforts were expanded to state lands as well after the Partners learned of the coordinated work being done across the country by the CPC network of professionals. Guidelines, protocols, priorities and long-range strategies are maintained for the participating institutions and their scientists.
It is an exciting and successful concept that is helping the survival of at-risk plants of possible medicinal or climatic enhancing qualities. The need is great. The time is short. Join the Center for Plant Conservation 4651 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110-2299 to save a rare plant today!
The Center for Plant Conservation is the best kept secret in the World of Conservation. For over 25 years it has been dedicated to saving rare and endangered plants acrosws the United States by partnering with its network of botanic gardens to protect and save our native plants. From gathering and storing seeds to growing them at their partner institutions, to restoring them in the wild they have been at the forefront of learning and teaching techniques which will assure our children and grandchildren having the genetic diversity available that would otherwise be lost forever. Today they are the protectors of almost 800 plants that were doomed to extinction. And they are dedicated to continuing to work to save those plants which are almost daily becoming rare and endngered.
Many years ago, in the mid 90's I suppose, I first became aware of the Center for Plant Conservation when I started to volunteer/monitor the rare and endangered species for the Plants of Concern Program administered by the Chicago Botanic Garden.
By virtue of the comprehensive nature and the wealth of information the CPC Web site offered It quickly became the "go-to" resource for all my plant identification, conservation and many botany related questions. And over the years the CPC Web site has remained a steady and a reliable source for plant information especially in the areas of plant identification and conservation.
More recently, as a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists I have come to admire the CPC for their enormous support and strategic foresight in co-sponsoring (along with the Smithsonian Institute) the international botanical art exhibition "Losing Paradise - Rare and Endangered Plants Here and Around the World." The exhibition soon to open in London continues to bring the issue of conservation to the wider public audience connecting art to science to people in a way, some would say, only fine art can.
This one venture seems so well to demonstrate the enormous breadth and dimension of what the CPC is about. And in so doing has given this writer, conservationist and staunch botanical artist a whole new appreciation of what the Center does and how!
The National Collection of Endangered Plants maintained by the Center for Plant Conservation is a critical asset for protecting the biodiversity of our planet. The scientists at CPC not only research methods of plant and seed propagation but also provide endangered plants for restoration projects. We need an organization in every state to assist CPC.
Kudos to Kathron Kennedy who continues to educate and inspire Garden Club of America members!
Lake Minnetonka Garden Club Horticulture Chair (MN)
Garden Club of America Vice Chair for Endangered and Invasive Species
I have heard Kathryn Kennedy, the Executive Director of CPC speak on several occasions. She is an excellent speaker and makes the valid point that plant species generally suffer from lack of attention and proper care and consideration, to say nothing of funding for study and stewardship. Habitats are suffering all over the world for various reasons, some natural, many due to GHG and climate change as well as urban development. We need our plants; they are part of the natural balance that we humans seem so hell bent on obliterating - mostly because plants, omnipresent but under the wire, have such a low profile. The CPC tells their story. AND the CPC works overtime to protect plants and educate us all to their vital value.
I have interacted with The Center for Plant Conservation on personal and professional levels. I work for the USDA Forest Service and CPC cooperates with our botanists to conserve significant botanical resources and to maintain diversity of these resources. The folks at CPC have always been willing to think outside the box to find ways to help both my agency and the resources.
This organization, based in St. Louis, relies on the cooperation of most of the major Botanic Gardens in the country to help propagate endangered plants and reintroduce to native habitats. This is a conservation effort which deserves support from all who are concerned with species extinction.
There are few organizations whose focus is strictly on the plant world, and the Center for Plant Conservation is one of the premier groups whose mission is just that. It is vital to preserve plant diversity at a time when we are losing it. Diversity of species will help our world cope with changing climate within planting zones. Never has there been a more important time to preserve our natural environment. With all the changes occurring with climate change, human development and habitat loss, our natural areas are under stress and in peril. Plants are as vulnerable to extinction and invasive species as are animals, and arguably more in peril because they can not just move somewhere else as their habitat changes! We are increasingly discovering properties of plants that will be useful to humans - medicines, natural chemicals, adaptability, etc that we will lose if the plants become extinct.
For 14 years i worked as the CPC liason at Desert Botanical Garden. My primary goal was to build a conservation seedbank of rare and common desert species for recovery and restoration purposes. CPC supported my efforts financially and professionally with grant money and plenty of advice. Under the leadership of Carolyn O'Malley, Director of Desert Botanical Garden, my efforts were enthusiastically encouraged and supported. When, under new directorship, my position was included in the Reseearch Department under new direction, new rules were put into place at DES, limiting my CPC activity. This caused a major life change for me, resulting in a change of profession. I am now a botany teacher at a community college, but will always appreciate the time i spent working toward plant conservation with CPC.
The Center for Plant Conservation stands in a class of its own when it comes to preserving native plant diversity in the US. Since its inception, the Center has been a consistent -- and sometimes the only -- voice on the side of plant diversity. By combining the assets of existing institutions, such as botanic gardens and arboreta, with those of land managers, CPC provides a pathway to survival for many species that would otherwise face a grim future.