Today is Plant Conservation Day. Throughout the world many botanic gardens and arboreta have a strong commitment to plant conservation as part of their mission. Some institutions work with a specific genus, such as, the Atlanta Botanical Garden and their work with the native pitcher plants, Sarracenia. Their program includes documenting wild populations, propagation and germplasm preservation. Other institutions collaborate with other national and international organizations in an effort to develop conservation measures to protect threatened or endangered plants and plant communities. At the Scott Arboretum while conservation is not a core tenant of our mission statement, we do play an active role in the plant conservation arena.
For several years we have played an active role in the NAPCC (North American Plant Collections Consortium) which is administered by the APGA (American Public Garden Association). The NAPCC is a network of botanic gardens and arboreta working together to coordinate a continent-wide approach to germplasm preservation and conservation.
This program recognizes gardens throughout North America who have collections of plants that are significant on many levels. The NAPCC collection holder has an obligation to make their germplasm available for taxonomic studies, evaluation, propagation, breeding and other research. The host institution is also expected to expand their collections through acquisitions and curation.
The Scott Arboretum holds three NAPCC collections including Magnolia; Ilex, hollies and Quercus, oaks. Our oak collection is part of multi-site collection which also includes the oak collections of the Chicago Botantic Garden, Cornell Plantations, Denver Botanic Garden, Holden Arboretum, Landis Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden, Morris Arboretum, The Morton Arboretum, Mount Auburn Cemetery, New York Botanical Garden, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, The University of California Botanical Garden the UC Davis Arboretum, and the University of Washington Botanic Garden. This collaboration of 15 North American institutions holds 168 taxa representing 2,367 accessions. One of the goals of this collaboration is to collect and preserve many of the almost 500 naturally-occurring oak taxa throughout the world.
Through the NAPCC the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College is able to play an active role in ex situ plant conservation.
In addition to supporting the efforts at institutions like the Scott Arboretum there are several things you can do in your own home garden for plant conservation. Visit http://www.plantconservationday.org/ learn about all you can do to help us preserve plant diversity.