Jackie BergquistJackie Bergquist, from the Longwood Graduate Fellows program at the University of Delaware, gave a public seminar at MBC on June 4, titled, “The Development of a Natural Disaster Planning Template for use in Plant Collections Management.”

Last summer, Ms. Bergquist was hosted at the Arthur Montgomery Guesthouse while conducting on-site research on living collections management at five local gardens–Montgomery Botanical Center, The Kampong, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Viscaya, and the Gifford Arboretum. Ms. Bergquist’s innovative work was partially supported by the Montgomery Botanical Research Fellows program, through the generous support of the Kelly Foundation.

Ms. Bergquist’s thesis examined the natural disaster planning process in public gardens, in order to identify the details that make a natural disaster plan truly useful to an organization.  The research conducted included two national public garden surveys, three on-site case studies, and nine on-site interviews with botanical institutions that had experienced disaster.

While many Botanic Gardens have disaster plans, only one in five has a recovery plan that is specifically focused on living collections. Ms. Bergquist’s work aims to make living collections recovery a central focus of the disaster planning process.

The staff at Montgomery Botanical Center are happy to have contributed to such an important study.  Being located in South Florida, MBC can experience tropical storms and hurricanes; thoughtful planning and preparation goes a great distance in managing living collections through these natural disasters.