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2016 MBC News Archive






Corypha taliera leaf with green anole (Anolis carolinensis).

Corypha taliera leaf with green anole (Anolis carolinensis).

December 2016

Fall/Winter 2016 Montgomery Botanical News is Now Online!

This new issue is focused on palms, as promised! There are articles on Dr. Larry Noblick's expeditions to Madagascar, the Seychelles, the US Virgin Islands, and Arizona.

You will also find articles on a new National Science Foundation Grant that Montgomery received and the American Public Gardens Association conference that was co-hosted by Montgomery Botanical Center in Miami this year.

We had one retirement and added six new staff members this year! It was also a good year for staffing.

Montgomery Botanical Center publishes two newsletters a year to keep our supporters and collaborators up to date and informed. To read more about how Montgomery Botanical Center meets our mission of "Advancing Research, Conservation, and Education through Scientific Plant Collections" please see our newsletters online.

October 28, 2016

Please join us for a lecture on the evolutionary history of cycads this Friday!

Title: Much more lively than most fossils: the evolutionary history of cycads.

Speaker: Mario Coiro, PhD Student, University of Zurich.

When: 2:30 PM, Friday, October 28.

Location: Montgomery Botanical Center.

Description: Mario will speak about his research using anatomy to study the evolution of cycads. Mario's studies began in his native Naples, Italy, home of one of the best cycad collections at the Orto Botanico Napoli. Mario will speak about the collection there, and provide background on his current research at the Institute of Systematic Botany at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Mario will also speak about how he is using the collection at Montgomery to reconstruct the history of this ancient plant lineage. Mario's recent publication showed how the surface anatomy of Dioon suggests that this group's evolution may be influenced by volcanic eruptions!

September 27, 2016

Major Grant for Plant Collection Research


Montgomery Botanical Center, in collaboration with a team of experts from around the nation, just received a NATIONAL LEADERSHIP GRANT from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The project, Safeguarding our Plant Collections, will develop a new way to protect botanic garden plants, starting with Florida’s beloved palm trees. The project will carefully select which palms to grow by exploring their DNA, and will help protect other trees, from oaks to magnolias, by adapting proven conservation methods from zoos. This research continues a successful line of study on the genetics of botanic garden plant collections led by MBC.

“This project has been called one of the largest advances in tree conservation since the 1970s,” states Griffith. “When we safeguard our nation’s tree collections, we ensure that those trees continue to benefit future generations.”

The project brings together a group of experts at botanic gardens, zoos, and associations; in the photo, clockwise from upper left: Alan Meerow, United States Department of Agriculture; Tracy Magellan and Patrick Griffith, Montgomery Botanical Center; John Clark, Center for Plant Conservation; Taylor Callicrate and Bob Lacy, Chicago Zoological Society; David Lorence and Seana Walsh, National Tropical Botanical Garden; Jeremie Fant, Kay Havens and Andrea Kramer, Chicago Botanic Garden; Michael Dosmann, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University; Abby Hird Meyer, Botanic Gardens Conservation International; Sean Hoban and Murphy Westwood, Morton Arboretum. The group will study a carefully selected group of plant species, providing case studies which can inform work at most every garden.

National Leadership Grants support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and have the potential to improve services for the American public. “As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services isthe primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. The IMLS mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development, and research helps libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

July 12, 2016

Montgomery Botanical Center Featured in
the Award Winning Gardens of Miami Book!

The Gardens of Miami coffee-table book features approximately 400 color photos showcasing 27 extraordinary, private gardens in the Miami area. Published by the not-for-profit group The Villagers, proceeds support historical preservation.

The book recently received the Award of Honor from the Design Awards Committee of the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

The Villagers, Inc. is Miami-Dade County’s oldest historic preservation organization, founded in 1966. The group has helped restore and preserve much of Miami-Dade’s unique history, including supporting Montgomery Botanical Center and more than 70 others. The most recent project supported the replacement of the air conditioner in the MBC archive.

“The Villagers are great supporters of historic sites here in our area,” said Patrick Griffith, Executive Director of Montgomery Botanical Center. “One of the most exciting parts of Miami's history is our rich tradition of gardens and horticulture. So, this book is a great resource, which records how our local garden tradition continues today. I know this book will be of great use to future generations, who can use it to see state-of-the-art garden design from our era."

Miami’s unique microclimate allows for an exceptional diversity. Gardens featured in the 264-page book range in philosophy and style from manicured waterfront mansions and mysterious jungles, to preserved historic properties, streamlined modern landscapes, quirky creative settings, and restored wild swamps.

The introduction by University of Miami School of Architecture professor, Joanna Lombard, transports the reader through the past 100 years of explorers, scientists, and iconic landscape architects who have attempted to tame and preserve the natural beauty of the Miami landscape. Photography is by Steven Brooke and text by Elaine Mills and Julie Petrella Arch.

“The book is a must-have for the library of anyone who loves to garden or simply enjoys looking at gardens, said Villager member Dolly MacIntyre, who conceived the idea for the book. “It was designed to be versatile enough to flip through casually, or studied closely for specific details.”

The book launched this year in conjunction with The Villagers’ 50th anniversary. All funds from book sales will support the Villagers’ mission of saving historic places. Copies can be purchased at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Vizcaya, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens or ordered on The Villagers’ website.

June 6-10, 2016

Montgomery and Local Gardens host Largest Botanic Garden Conference

Montgomery Botanical Center was happy to co-host the 2016 American Public Gardens Association Conference in Miami along with 12 other gardens: Block Botanical Gardens, Kona Kai Botanical Garden, The Preston B. Bird & Mary Heinlein Fruit & Spice Park, The John C. Gifford Arboretum, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Mounts Botanical Garden, Naples Botanical Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Pinecrest Gardens, USDA-ARS, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, and Wertheim Conservatory of Florida International University.

The conference brought together over 750 individuals from around the world and embraced its theme “Changing Perspectives: Planting for the Future” and made plants a priority. The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association donated five “Fresh from Florida” plants for guests to take home with them and many of the conference talks focused on getting to the root of public garden issues.

Montgomery Botanical Center hosted two tours. A Plant Collections Management Study Tour with the USDA-ARS Subtropical Horticulture Research Station and a Host Garden Tour of Montgomery Botanical Center. Both tours were well received and all participants were able to experience a taste of the tropics and see important tropical and subtropical conservation collections.

Patrick Griffith, Michael Calonje, and Tracy Magellan from Montgomery Botanical Center attended the conference and gave six talks:Host & Conduct a Successful Red List Workshop: Case Studies & Lessons Learned, Collecting for Collections: The Public Garden Role in Tree Gene Conservation, Climate is Changing Collections Management, Using Living Collections as an Unparalleled Resource for Research in Plant Conservation, Beyond Lists & Labels: Integrating Date for Curation & Research, and Identifying Vulnerabilities & Taking Action Toward Climate Resilience.

MBC would also like to thank the many local volunteers who helped us at the InterContinental hotel and during the various tours throughout the week. We could not have done it without your help! Conference attendees and organizers said it was one of the best-organized and fun conferences. Miami shined!

May 18, 2016

Lecture: Wind or insect pollination of the endangered Cycas micronesica?
Investigations in Guam and at Montgomery Botanical Center

Time and date: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 2:00 PM.

Location: Montgomery Botanical Center, Nixon Smiley Meeting Room.

About the Speaker: Dr. Terry is a Research Professor at the University of Utah and Research Fellow at Montgomery Botanical Center. Her main research focus for over the last decade has been pollination of cycads.

About the Presentation: I have been studying the pollination systems of Macrozamia cycads in Australia and Cycas micronesica in Guam for many years. Cycas micronesica pollination has been a difficult system to determine, and the ex situ plantings at Montgomery Botanical Center have been invaluable in this endeavor. I would like to present and discuss some of the ongoing studies from Guam and MBC.

May 2016

Spring/Summer 2016 Montgomery Botanical News is Now Online!

This new issue has articles on our recent collaborations in Cuba, Cycad 2015 in Colombia, and the World Cycad Office at Montgomery.

The Kelly Foundation made a one million dollar donation to support the Loyd G. Kelly Leadership Endowment to promote good leadership (see page 9). This exceptionally generous donation was made in honor and in memory of Loyd G. Kelly, whose skill and dedication set Montgomery on its course to achievement.

Also, please see pages 10 and 11 for a list of grants and support received in 2015. Your support is greatly appreciated and it helps Montgomery meet its mission year after year. If you would like to support Montgomery online please visit our Support Us page.

Montgomery Botanical Center publishes two newsletters a year to keep our supporters and collaborators up to date and informed. To read more about how Montgomery Botanical Center meets our mission of "Advancing Research, Conservation, and Education through Scientific Plant Collections" please see our newsletters online.

April 1, 2016

NSF grant to protect the MBC plant collection

Montgomery Botanical Center has rare living collections that are utilized by scientists all over the world for scientific research. The collections have supported many National Science Foundation funded researchers as well.

MBC is located in a hurricane prone region and one thing the collection was missing was an automatic generator system to protect the nursery complex and pollen bank during blackouts. The National Science Foundation answered our request and is providing Montgomery Botanical Center with generator systems for the Chris Tyson Plant Conservation Building - where our cryogenic freezer is located - and the Loyd G. Kelly Conservation Nursery - where our youngest and most vulnerable plants are grown.

The National Science Foundation provided MBC with a -80 freezer in 2012. Luckily, we have not had any hurricanes since acquiring the freezer, but with the addition of the generator system, we can now protect our pollen collection indefinitely, making it available for research and conservation.

Please join us in thanking the National Science Foundation for supporting the equipment needed to protect our plant collections.

January 12, 2016

Cycads provide a model group for garden conservation.

In partnership with Montgomery, BGCI US has published a new guide, Cycads: A model group for ex situ plant conservation. The guide features work done by the Montgomery Botanical Center, including genetic evaluation of the Sinkhole Cycad and the Beach Cycad.

This guide is designed to provide a general overview of cycads and their conservation status worldwide, and to help strategically develop conservation collections of cycads. Many endangered plants, including cycads, are considered exceptional species, which do not store well in seedbanks, and thus rely heavily on living plant collections for conservation. Quoting from the guide:

"Cycads are the most threatened plant group in the world and face considerable conservation obstacles. Ex situ conservation is vital to most cycads’ long-term survival. Central to this effort is planning and building genetically appropriate cycad collections.”

This guide is the result of recently completed projects focused on two cycad species, Zamia decumbens and Zamia lucayana, by Montgomery Botanical Center, BGCI and USDA’s Chapman Field, and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, (MA-05-12-0336-12 & MA-30-14-0123-14), creating strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

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