USA: Save the plants, save the planet


A state of the art unit for protecting the world's plants will open in Chicago next week. The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Center goes live on 23rd September under the banner "Save the plants, save the planet".

The huge building, with its nine research labs, will provide a hub for Chicago Botanic Garden's 31 full-time scientists and provide invaluable facilities for many other interns, graduate students, research associates, and collaborators.

picture of new building in pretty surroundings

Over 200 scientists will be able to work in the new facility

Photo courtesy of CBG

The 200 strong team of plant scientists aim to become a driving force for global plant conservation tackling the big issues of the age such as climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, and pollution. At a time when many university botany departments around the world are shrinking this news is a breath of fresh air for plant conservationists around the world.

The timing is critical and according to Sophia Siskel, President and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden. “One-third of the world’s plants could become extinct in the next 50 years. This is more than a building; it represents the Garden’s commitment to solving plant conservation challenges through research and education. We depend on plants for food, clothing, shelter, fuel, medicine and oxygen.”

slender daisy with blue-tinged petalsThe project has taken little more than a year to build and will offer the USA's first and only doctoral programme that focuses on plant biology and conservation (in partnership with Northwestern University). But the building won't just be for people in white coats. Visitors will be able to explore a green roof building, interactive exhibits and public gallery where they'll be able to see the scientists at work.


The rare Aster furcatus - just one of the many species of local plants Chicago Botanic Garden work to conserve

Photo courtesy of CBG