Undergrad Reseach Workshop

Undergraduate students have come to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for a plant systematics and evolutionary biology workshop August 11 through 21, 2012.

The workshop offers students a hands-on plant science learning opportunity—from collecting and making plant specimens to DNA extraction to working with the scanning electron microscope to analyzing the data that result from such a project. 

Students have come from colleges and universities in Indiana, Arkansas, Texas and Southern California, as well as international students from Namibia and Venezuela. Professors Lucinda McDade and J. Mark Porter are leading the workshops and Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman, CGU doctoral candidate, is serving as the teaching assistant.

The intensive 10-day workshop will focus on the types of research questions and methods used in reconstructing evolutionary relationships in plants. Topics to be covered include: DNA extraction and sequencing methods, scanning electron microscopy, anatomy and morphology, field collection techniques and herbarium curation. Participants will learn to use Internet tools (e.g., GenBank) and software packages to gather, process and analyze phylogenetic data.

The workshop is made possible through funding provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

RSABG’s oak collection ranked 28th in the world

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has ranked Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s oak collection as 28th largest collection of rare or endangered oaks in the world.

The survey identified 3,796 oak records from 198 institutions in 39 countries. RSABG’s collection of oaks was deemed a significant botanic garden collection by assigning a score for each taxa within the garden’s collection and the number of unique or rare collections.

Read more about BGCI’s global survey of ex situ oak collections at their website.

Seed Processing Manual goes to 2nd printing

The intention of “Processing Seeds of California Native Plants for Conservation, Storage, and Restoration,” by Michael Wall and John Macdonald might be encapsulated with the well-placed quote in the manual’s brief preface.

The editors selected an excerpt from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s 1961 “Seeds, The Yearbook of Agriculture,” that concludes with an apt description of the humble seed’s purpose—“Seeds are containers of embryonic plants, the embryos of a new generation.” 

New Trustee and Overseers

This summer, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden welcomed three new members to the trustee and overseer boards.

Lerback Appointed Director of Development

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Coleman Lerback as the director of development as of Monday, February 21, 2011. Lerback brings 23 years of experience working in advancement with institutions of higher education and nonprofits and will oversee Garden fund-raising and encourage philanthropy.

Native artisan baskets and pottery

The beauty of California lies not only in our remarkable flora, but in its people as well. For the indigenous peoples of the region, native plants often became cultural pillars.

The gift shop at the Garden is now featuring traditional willow and wiregrass baskets and clay pottery hand made by Pai Pai and Kumeyaay Indians tribes in Baja California, Mexico.

RSABG co-hosts 2010 National Children and Youth Garden Symposium

American Horticultural Society’s National Children and Youth Garden Symposium “The Vitality of Gardens: Energizing the Learning Environment.” The three-day event will be held in the heart of downtown Pasadena at The Westin Pasadena on Thursday, July 22 through Saturday, July 24, 2010.

June 2010 Reductions in Force

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) announced a series of budget cuts aimed at ensuring the organization remains in a stable financial position.

Garden officials identified seven staff positions that have been subject to an involuntary reduction in force as part of these cuts.

Five of these positions were professional and managerial employees. A severance package—which includes severance pay based on years of service and the employer health insurance contribution through the end of June—has been offered to those staff members affected by the reduction in force.

Claremont High School students show off research at RSABG

Claremont High School students dove into fieldwork at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden this year. Now the group of 40 juniors and seniors in Carly McKean’s International Baccalaureate Environmental Systems and Societies classes are planning a celebration highlighting their research at the Garden on Friday, June 4, 2010, at 3:15 p.m. at the Garden.

The students’ research involved monitoring chaparral and dessert habitats at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. McKean asked the students to create experiments that involved two ecological tools that allow scientists to measure the abundance of organisms in an area. Projects included transect and quadrat studies to monitor the impact of introduced weed species on native plant biodiversity. The students will report on their findings to date. This is the beginning of a long-term study that will be continued in years to come by McKean’s students.

“Outdoor field studies is especially suited to engage students in science,” says Director of Education Lorrae Fuentes at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. “Observations made in the field stimulate students to produce their own questions. The results of these inquiries are often unexpected, but rarely are they uninteresting. Ultimately students gain skills and understanding needed to critically evaluate the important current issues in science and the environment.” 

“This [the Garden] is such an amazing resource for us,” says McKean.

Green Tips for Earth Day

April 22, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary for Earth Day. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is celebrating Earth Day by offering Southern California gardeners 10 simple tips to help make green thumbs even greener. By using California native plants, local gardeners can reduce water bills, spruce up their garden and invest in their local environment.

“Native plantings in the landscape work with our hot dry climate without requiring a large input of resources in the way of water, pesticides or fertilizers,” says Director of Horticulture Susan Jett at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.  “But the real selling point is their incredible beauty and habitat value.”

According to The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California typical landscape irrigation in hot, dry areas can account for 70 percent of the summer water use for single-family homes. These 10 steps can help reduce water usage in the garden.

RSABG chosen Best of LA 2010

The Garden was named LA Weekly’s “Best Place to Grow your Own” in the publication’s “Best of L.A. 2010” edition. The private, non-profit botanic garden is dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) also operates two native plant nurseries, one in Claremont and a second in Westwood, Los Angeles.

Jedd Birkner wrote in LA Weekly “See what would actually be growing here without watering before we arrived and started pouring asphalt and laying down PVC. Then go to the adjacent Grow Native Nursery. Buy it. Plant it. Save water. Save L.A.”

An active partner with the California Native Plant Society, RSABG displays about 2,000 taxa of California plants and has several conservation programs, including one of the largest herbariums in the U.S., an extensive seed conservation program and a living collection that includes tens of thousands of plants.

RSABG has been affiliated with The Claremont Colleges since 1951 when the Garden operation was moved to Claremont from Santa Ana. Claremont Graduate University’s Botany Program is based at the Garden.

Read more about the award at LA Weekly’s website.

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  2. World travelers: RSABG botanists
  3. Botany Students Land Research Grants
  4. Fraga Awarded 2010 Switzer Fellowship
  5. Rare Botanical Folk Art Revealed
  6. Curating the plant specimens of the Thorne collection
  7. Seeds of Success
  8. New articles by Professor Prince
  9. RSABG Research Welcomes Visiting Scholars
  10. Sorting out the Ruellieae Family Tree
  11. 'Reimagining the California Lawn'
  12. Claremont Unified School Board honors RSABG
  13. 2011 Volunteer Service Awards
  14. Columbus Advances to Professor of Botany
  15. Growing Green Jobs with Ahmanson Grant
  16. BCM Foundation Grant Helps Kids Get Outdoor Education
  17. RSABG Scientists at 2011 Botany Conference
  18. Solarization of Fay's Wildflower Meadow
  19. Make Room for Wildlife
  20. Botany Students Earn Grants
  21. Botanist Recognized for Outstanding Scientific Presentation
  22. Mapping the Garden
  23. Native Landscapes: The Albrigos
  24. California Native Plants: Poodle-dog Bush
  25. Garden Helps Prepare Job Seekers for Green Horticulture Jobs
  26. Lenz Sculpture Collection
  27. Library Page Turning
  28. RSABG Hosts Invasive Plants and Pathogen Workshop
  29. Post-Doc Earns National Geographic Society Grant
  30. A Manzanita Lost and Found
  31. Searching for the Plant Families
  32. Two New DIGG Awards
  33. Botanists Travel Briefs
  34. Plant Safari
  35. CPC Annual Meeting 2012
  36. LaFleur to Direct Horticulture at the Garden
  37. New Student Grants and Visiting Scientists
  38. Help the Garden Grow
  39. David Rogers' Big Bugs
  40. Horticulture and Propagation of Native Plants at the Garden
  41. The Mediterranean City Conference 2012
  42. USFWS 2011 Recovery Champion
  43. Wall Awarded Important Conservation Award
  44. Volunteer in Angeles National Forest
  45. Botanizing Around the Globe
  46. Become a Fan of Getting Native
  47. Bumper Crop of Interns at the Garden
  48. Porter and Morawetz NSF Grant Awards