Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


Transforming the South Carolina Botanical Garden


Amy Hackney Blackwell

Document Type



Plant and Environmental Sciences

Publication Date

Spring 2013


My dissertation addresses the problem of how to transform a small to mid-sized public garden (in this case, the South Carolina Botanical Garden) into a botanical garden capable of making a significant contribution to science. Botanical gardens have a scientific basis for their collections, record data on the plants in the collection, exchanging plant materials and data with other botanical gardens, and provide educational information to visitors. They may also have missions such as conservation of rare and endangered species, botanical and ecological research, and involvement of the public through citizen science. I have examined ways to make the South Carolina Botanical Garden more effective at research and conservation, to increase SCBG’s interaction with Clemson University and the local community, to make the garden more visible to the larger world, and to integrate SCBG into the worldwide network of botanical gardens. My work includes revising SCBG’s curatorial practices and policies with a view to joining a national botanical conservation network, involving students in scientific collection-building through a hands-on plant collection class, increasing SCBG’s visibility and scholarly presence through a project that digitized and analyzed a historic plant collection, and examining the role of laws in guiding botanical gardens’ conservation efforts.

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