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Symposium: Building Upon the Legacy of Botanical Education and Traditional Knowledge

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June 1-5, 2008

Duke University, USA

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Peter Raven

The 49th Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany will be held at Duke University in Durham, NC, June 1-5, 2008. The meeting is sponsored by the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, and the J. C. Raulston Arboretum.

A day-long symposium will focus on the diverse roles gardens currently play in botanical education. We will look at how they can become more involved in classes and programs to preserve the future of botanical knowledge and research, and how they can better communicate the importance of plants in all aspects of human activities to a wide range of audiences from university and K-12 students to life-long learners.

Economic botany and ethnobotany, which underscore the relevance and vital nature of plants in the full scope of past, present, and future human activities, are a good fit for new curricula that emphasize interdisciplinary studies. We will highlight how economic botany at the interface of human-plant interactions offers opportunity for new directions and greater versatility in botanical teaching and research.

A key objective of the symposium will be to put the teaching and dissemination of botanical knowledge into historical perspective, characterize the changes in university curricula and programs today, elucidate how those changes are impacting the teaching of botany, delineate the challenges we face, and discuss how botanical gardens can embrace economic botany/ethnobotany to exhibit creative leadership for breathing new life into programs that will proactively shape a secure future for botany.

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