It's the First Plant Conservation Day Today
Botanic gardens and zoos across the U.S. are celebrating the importance of plants to people and the planet on the nation's first Plant Conservation Day, May 18.
"Despite our daily reliance on the flora of the world for our existence, plants are the most threatened species on Earth," said Dan Shepherd, U.S. Program Director for Botanic Gardens Conservation International. "Plants give us the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the medicines that protect us, along with our homes, and clothes."
A joint effort between Botanic Gardens Conservation International and the Association of Zoological Horticulture (AZH), Plant Conservation Day, May 18, is being promoted to hundreds of public gardens and zoos across the United States. The San Diego Zoo's Annual Garden Celebration in May is themed "Garden Magic for Vanishing Plants." The weekend event will feature many activities including a plant-oriented geocaching treasure hunt, a botanical bus tour and special plant exhibits featuring threatened plants from around the world. The New England Tropical Conservatory, in Bennington, VT, is planning Plant Conservation Day activities that include tours, school workshops, radio talk shows and a local television program highlighting the plant conservation efforts of organizations in their community.
"Reducing the threats to plants in their native habitats is a priority for conservationists worldwide," said David Selk, President of the Association of Zoological Horticulture. "Zoos and botanic gardens have a very important role in plant conservation. On Plant Conservation Day, many zoos and gardens across the country will promote their plant conservation efforts and help raise the public awareness of the importance of plants to people and as the backbone of all wildlife habitats."
"There are more public gardens and zoos in the U.S. than any country in the world," noted Shepherd. "Together they can reach more than 250 million Americans with conservation messages and help promote a more sustainable future for people, plants and the planet. Working together we can help protect the estimated 100,000 plant species that are threatened with extinction today."
Those interesting in finding out more about how they can be involved in Plant Conservation Day are invited to go to http://www.PlantConservationDay.org.
The website is a "toolkit" for gardens and zoos, and outlines five activities to celebrate plant conservation. Highlighted activities include endangered plant walks, art and science activities for kids and families, and a plant conservation course for home gardeners.