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Botany in Action at Phipps
May 21

Botany in Action at Phipps

By Lorren Kezmoh, Outreach Coordinator, Phipps Science Education and Research

You may not realize it when you set foot in the conservatory, but every day Phipps is actively aiding in the pursuit of knowledge through research. For the past several years, Phipps' Botany in Action program (BIA), originally developed by the Garden Club of Allegheny County, has supported graduate students conducting field work in plant conservation, ethnobotany, and sustainable landscapes, and has fostered the development of plant-based scientists who are committed, first, to excellent research, and second, to educational outreach.

Student researchers work on the relationship between landscapes and the built environment, in local forests, or with indigenous cultures in biologically rich and often remote areas of the world, to preserve genetic, ecological, medicinal, and cultural plant information. Many BIA researchers have studied plants used in folk medicine in hopes of understanding and synthesizing their active compounds into new medicines, while others have studied plant material used in resins and for commercial applications. Additionally, investigations into cultural plant uses is the focus for researchers interested in how plants are utilized for food, in ceremonies, as well as for daily needs like clothing and construction materials.

Since its inception in 1995, Botany in Action has supported 43 Ph.D. students from 19 universities, conducting research in 22 countries, engaging in outreach worldwide. And this year, Phipps is thrilled to support six graduate students as they pursue their research. To learn more about both our current and past fellows and their research please visit our Botany in Action site!