Posted by: csdailyblog | May 19, 2010

Students Contribute to Campus Plant Diversity through Propagation Projects

Propagating heirloom petunias teaches students about plant genetics and the value of plant diversity.

Conserve Science Teacher Andrew Milbauer teaches students about plant genetics, the value of heirloom plants, and the importance of plant diversity through plant propagation projects. Conserve students grow the heirloom petunias you see in these photos each year from seeds collected by students the year before.

Andy describes one class’s recent project below:

The students of Conserve School’s Applied Ecology class learned how to start plants from seed during the final portion of this semester. Most of the plants grown by the students are native varieties.  Some non-natives were grown as well, and were first double-checked against the invasive species watch lists from the Wisconsin DNR to make sure they did not pose a threat to native species.  We now have a huge number of plants that we will use to improve the diversity of native flowers on campus, provide food for the birds and insects, and beautify Lowenwood.  Photos show the plants growing in the Green Machine, our environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment greenhouse. Some of these plants will be used in formal plantings on campus.  Others were grown to re-introduce in areas where students previously removed invasive plants.  It was a great experience as we learned a significant amount about seed starting, plant characteristics, and plant selection.  For their final project, the class is creating a short film about how to start seeds. 

Watch for the video — coming soon to this blog.

Mary Anna

Racks of flowering plants were started by students in the science labs and are now growing in our Green Machine wastewater treatment greenhouse

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