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Educational Opportunities at MBC





Montgomery Botanical Center Educational Program (PDF)

A wide range of educational opportunities is found at Montgomery Botanical Center. Our scientific plant collections have educational value. We host students, teachers, classes, members of plant societies and botanical groups, as well as all others interested in scientific plant collections. Biology and botany classes come to study our cultivated collections as well as the five types of native plant communities here. Each year, university geology students research the Silver Bluff Limestone Escarpment that extends the length of our property. Tropical botany classes through the University of Florida and Harvard University use MBC’s collections as a living laboratory each summer. As a 24-hour-a-day functioning outdoor scientific laboratory, MBC is open by appointment to scientists, educators, students, historians, botanical groups, and all others interested in scientific plant collections.

Twice  a year Montgomery Botanical Center visits Miami Dade College to recruit new Service Learners and Volunteers.  At this event, we taught students how to plant their own seedling.

On June 7, 2010 students from Miami Dade College's Palm Diversity and Maintenance class visited MBC to assist with the summer planting.  This course teaches identification and good maintenance practices for the major species of palms commonly found in South Florida.

Twenty-one students from The Coral Gables Museum City Trekker Summer Camp visited Montgomery Botanical Center to learn about botanic gardens through a palm planting workshop.

Montgomery Botanical Center works with Miami Dade College’s Center for Community Involvement to host Service Learners at MBC.  Students in this program learn the inner workings of a botanic garden, become part of the MBC community, and gain a sense of environmental responsibility.

As part of its work in botanical education, The Kampong recently gave a course for physicians. Montgomery Botanical Center hosted the physicians and instructors for an afternoon of seminars, review of the living plant collections, and a brief introduction to the history and work of MBC.

Dr. Doug Goldman brough his students from Havard University to Montgomery Botanical Center to teach them different aspects of plant morphology.

Ten students from Mr. Phillip Pearcy’s Environmental Science class at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School visited Montgomery Botanical Center this week as part of the Fairchild Challenge Environmental Immersion Day.  Rotations taught students about the different technical aspects of working at a botanic garden.

Students from Tracy Magellan’s Miami Dade College BSC-1050 Biology and the Environment  course learn about root to shoot ratios and planting techniques at Montgomery Botanical Center.

Students from Mater Academy Charter School visited Montgomery Botanical Center for Environmental Immersion Day. They learned different aspects of botanical work.

The rotations taught practical skills  relating to soil and root science, seedbank operations, conservation in the nursery, tropical forestry, and cycad biology.

Dr. David Lee, Florida International University, has leveraged MBC as a living laboratory to teach undergraduate botany students about basic plant taxonomy and morphology for over a decade.

Living collections are invaluable for teaching botanical science.  Here, Dr. Lee demonstrates botanical structures on MBC's living plants in 1998.

Here, Dr. Lee lectures on botanical morphology in the Nixon Smiley Building in 2008.

In March 2008, Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) hosted an Environmental Immersion Day for students from John A. Ferguson Senior High School as part of The Fairchild Challenge environmental education program.

Michael Calonje, MBC cycad biologist, discusses pollination biology with students during Fairchild Challenge Environmental Immersion Day.

Dr. Larry Noblick,  MBC palm biologist, and Judy Kay, MBC Seedbank coordinator, with the students participating in the Environmental Immersion Day.

Ericka Witcher, MBC collections specialist, explains Terra Ceia muck --soil rich in anaerobic bacteria and found in the low, tidal areas of MBC.

Students assemble Air-Pots with Vickie Murphy, MBC nursery curator. These pots provide excellent drainage, allowing MBC's nursery collections to develop better root systems.

MBC palm biologist, Dr. Larry Noblick, frequently interprets MBC's palm collections for interested groups. Here, Dr. Noblick speaks to a group from Adelaide Botanic Gardens in Australia on the history of Col. Montgomery's original Coconut Grove Palmetum collections.

Former MBC executive director, Terrence Walters, gives a lecture and tour of MBC to the University of Florida’s Public Management Class, taught by horticulture professor, Dr. Bijan Dehgan.

Dr. Brad Bennett of Florida International University brought his Local Flora undergraduate class to MBC in 1998. They spent the afternoon studying the native vegetation surrounding historic Old Cutler Road.

Former director Dr. Terrence Walters gave botanically-oriented lectures and tours to students of local community colleges and universities. Here, Dr. Walters discusses cycad biology and conservation with students from Miami Dade College. Dr. Walters is holding a male cone of the African cycad, Stangeria eriopus. Don Maser, the class instructor, looks on from the right.

You won’t see this at most botanical gardens--cutting down a mature plant for classroom study. In 1999, Harvard’s Dr. Barry Tomlinson (left with chainsaw) and his students took down this coconut palm at MBC to study its structure in detail.

Dr. Grenville Draper of Florida International University utilizes the MBC property for graduate and undergraduate geology education. The Silver Bluff Escarpment and this karstic solution hole are valuable resources for teaching the geology of South Florida.

In support of the increasing documentation associated with collections at botanical gardens worldwide, MBC’s former database supervisor, Sue Katz (left), instructs a scientist from Hungary on the procedures MBC uses to document and map its collections.


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