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.
There are many institutions and NGOs that advocate for plant conservation in some way. However, few actually foster conservation by actively performing the work needed for conservation, including surveys, monitoring, developing ex situ seed banks, and participating in restoration and recovery. The Center for Plant Conservation, acting through its member gardens, is such an institution, and clearly leads the effort in the United States, doing so with considerable and collective scientific experience.
The concept of the Center for Plant Conservation is brilliant...harness the expertise residing in botanical gardens to work towards the conservation and preservation of the rare native plants of the U.S.
The CPC is a global recognized and highly regarded leader in the field of ex situ, or off site plant conservation. Indeed, they have literally written the book on the subject, or, actually three of them with another in press. These books all finish with one or more appendixes that provide practical, pragmatic, and highly detailed and specific guidelines about how best to go about the various aspects of keeping endangered species alive.
In addition to their books, the bodies of which provide the scientific, strategic and policy underpinnings to the practical appendixes, the CPC serves as a de facto national network that strives to prevent extinction the the most endangered plants in the USA.
Indeed, the first plant species deemed to have been recovered enough to be taken off the Endangered Species List, Potentilla robbinsiana, was very much a direct consequence of the work by the New England Wildflower Society, a CPC participating Institution.
CPC's mission is important to all of us to preserve and maintain our native (often endangered) plant populations. the Center for Plant Conservation is remarkable in that it is a consortium, or collaborative program spread among many botanical gardens and arboreta in all parts of the country and all climates. they do an outstanding job of identifying and protecting area of naturally occuring native plants; often working with state and federal agencies or other NGOs. they also maintain controlled porpagation sites, collect and preserve seeds. .
gain greater visibility for (CPC) The Center for Plant Conservation
and for the issues facing our most vulnerable plants.
As the only national organization dedicated to the conservation of imperiled native plants, the CPC plays a vital role in protecting our precious natural heritage. CPC supports on the ground conservation work with imperiled plants through its endowed species program, by building partnerships with governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and by facilitating information sharing among its network of botanic gardens and arboreta. The books and workshops led by CPC institutions are world-class and have helped inspire plant conservation work across the US.
I have long admired the work of the Center for Plant Conservation and in the late 1990s I was thrilled to be asked to join their science advisors. In time, the University of Washington Botanic Gardens became part of the network and I became a conservation officer with CPC. I am now Director of the Gardens and continue to believe in the good work of the main office and all of the network. This is an amazing organization that has increased awareness about the importance of conserving plants - the foundation of living communities - and they have also increased funding within the network, allowing the members to do more on-the-ground conservation. The collective problem-solving of the network is one of the best things it offers too. When we are faced with a vexing conservation problem in Washington state, we put the question out to the network and get suggestions from Florida, Hawaii, and Colorado. It is great to have that sort of support.
What CPC needs more is more funding. Funds for plant conservation are woefully inadequate and we are losing the race against time and climate change.
The Center For Plant Conservation has its focus exactly where it needs to be and is positioned to help botanical gardens do their best to help protect our national heritage of native plants. The protection of genetic diversity is actively addressed by their good work. As a curator in a botanical garden I am thankful for their support and grateful to work with them.