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.”

Institute of Museum and Library Services

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 and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.