40th Anniversary Speaker Series

2014 Celebrates Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens 40th Anniversary

The Houston Museum of Natural Science Distinguished Lecture Series

Printable Flyer: 2014 Lecture Series and Special Events

April 10
“The Chinese Economic ‘Bloom’ – People, Plans,
and Plants for a Verdant Earth”

Dr. David Creech, Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches, Texas
Join Dr. Creech with a behind-the-scenes look at the people, plans and plants of an emerging Horticultural giant.  China is the ancestral home of many of the ornamental plants and fruits that grace our Southern USA landscapes.  Enjoy an excursion through China’s nursery and landscape industry in the middle of the hot economic engine of eastern China – to the wild mountains and interesting cultures of the Yunnan – to the interesting patriarch plants that call ancient Chinese gardens home.

September 4
From Exploration to Exploitation – The Road from Plant Discovery to Market
Tony Avent, Owner, Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery, Raleigh, North Carolina
In this “behind the scenes” look into the nursery world, we’ll share the secrets of how and why new plants fit into different market niches. We’ll explore why certain new plants get to market quickly, while other great plants never see the light of day. We’ll track memorable plant introduction successes, explain bad horticultural marketing disasters, and blow up some common plant exploration myths. We promise, you’ll never look at plants the same way again.

September 25
“Plant Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World”
Dr. Peter Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Missouri
The animals, plants, and other organisms of our planet collectively make our lives on earth possible, and yet we are destroying their habitats, changing the climate, introducing weeds, diseases and pests widely, and overharvesting many of them.  In turn, these factors are driven by our rapidly growing population, increasing consumption levels, and use of destructive technologies (http://www.footprintnetwork.org).  As a result, we could drive to extinction more than half the kinds of plants and animals that exist now within the next 75 years or so.  For plants, the world has more than 400,000 species.  In the U.S. alone, some 4,000 of the estimated 19,000 kinds of plants, and in Texas nearly 300 of the roughly 4,800 native species are of conservation concern, 27 of them already Federally listed.  Fortunately plants can be saved through genetic seed banks, the establishment of protected areas and botanic garden collections. The Center for Plant Conservation, of which Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens is a member, consists of 40 similar institutions cooperating in an attempt to save as many as possible of these species nationally while we still have time to do so.

November 6
“Growing an Ark: The Developing Role of Botanic Gardens in Plant Conservation
Dr. Peter Wyse-Jackson, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri
There are over 3,000 botanic gardens known in 175 countries and territories worldwide.  Of those, less than 750 were established prior to 1950.  This presentation will review some of the drivers for growth, focusing on the most significant successes and contributions by botanic gardens, both individually and collectively.  The importance of expanded research, plant conservation and environmental education through botanic gardens will be highlighted, along with the increasingly influential role of botanic gardens in the development of international policies in biodiversity conservation.

Lecture tickets are $12 for HMNS and The Mercer Society (TMS) 2014 members. Lecture tickets are $18 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or in person at HMNS box office. Be sure to bring your TMS membership card.

The 40th Anniversary Speaker Series is graciously sponsored by HARC and Kava King.