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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Conant, Meaghan [1], Emry, Jason [2].

Using Science and Education to Reduce Plant Blindness.

Broadly defined, plant blindness is known as the inability to recognize and/or appreciate the plants in one’s own environment. While the inability to name or recognize one’s local flora may not initially be seen as a problem, the large scale implications of societal plant blindness could lead to a severe decline in the knowledge and interest in the conservation of plants and trees. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not restricted to non-botanists. For example, in an informal survey conducted on the first day of a General Advanced Botany course at Washburn University, the six students enrolled could collectively list only 42 plant species, with 20 of those being trees. This leads us to believe that additional knowledge on the recognition of plants could be a useful tool to the community. Washburn University is centrally located within the city of Topeka, and receives a large amount of recreational foot traffic by the general public. Our main objective with this work is to provide educational resources to both students and the public in order to reduce plant blindness in the larger campus community. To provide an initial assessment of tree diversity on campus, data were collected using iTree software and physical ground-truthing. This information was used to create a dichotomous key, written and illustrated in such a way that it could be easily used by non-biologists and biologists alike. The campus’ accessibility allows for the opportunity to deliver these resources to a broad audience. With this in mind, the hope is to be able to distribute these keys along the walking routes on campus, encouraging citizens to further explore and acknowledge their own environment. Future goals of this project involve broadening the key to include trees along main trails within Topeka and working with the City of Topeka to include the key on its website, thereby encouraging an even larger audience to further understand and appreciate its city’s natural environments.

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1 - 2324 SW Briarwood Plz., Apt. 207 F, Topeka, KS, 66611, United States
2 - 1952 Miller Dr, Lawrence, KS, 66046, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 18, Education and Outreach I
Location: Sundance 4/Omni Hotel
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 18003
Abstract ID:276
Candidate for Awards:None


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