On January 28th, New York Botanical Garden, Florida International University, Fairchild Tropical Garden, and Montgomery Botanical Center offered a Cycad Biology Course to teachers from Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The course was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and taught by Dennis Stevenson (NYBG), Michael Calonje (MBC), Javier Francisco-Ortega (FIU-Fairchild), and Patrick Griffith (MBC).
Six high school teachers and Shelley Cant, Education Officer from the Bahamas National Trust, attended the course. NYBG, FIU, FTBG, BNT, and MBC have been working together to research the genetics of Zamia in the Caribbean. Educational outreach is an important component of this project and the organizations involved are working to make the new information from this project available to the community.
The workshop included: field components using the living collections of MBC and classroom lectures and laboratory demonstrations at the Center for Tropical Plant Conservation of Fairchild.
“It’s great to see the enthusiasm our local science teachers new have for the latest cycad research,” said Griffith. “The interface between current botanical science and current education is critical.”