- Urban botany, ecology and biodiversity
- Plant Science Communication
- Community / Citizen Science
- Equitable environmental education
- Sustainable Biophilic Cities and Communities
I coordinate the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora, a collaborative community science project of the Desert Botanical Garden and the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA). The goal of the project is to increase understanding of biodiversity and urbanization, make plant science meaningful and open to all, and contribute to local conservation efforts. Urban environments can be overlooked when considering biodiversity studies and this has both ecological and social implications. Metro Phoenix EcoFlora is addressing these urban biodiversity challenges by creating opportunities to observe and learn about nature and urban ecosystems and participate in scientific collaboration and plant conservation efforts. This, in turn,
I am first and foremost a science communicator who strives to contribute to the understanding and wonder of others for the natural world, especially plant life. At Metro Phoenix EcoFlora this takes the form of magazine postings, newsletters, social media presence, videos, and coordination of collaborations, activities, and events. I am also a scientist, analyzing project data and using historical floristic information to understand how urbanization interrelates with biodiversity and social impacts in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and how this can be applied to conservation efforts. I am especially interested in urban ecosystems as they can easily facilitate connection with human nature, bridging the gap between wild nature and nearby nature. Biodiversity is not only found in distant places; it can be found in our own neighborhoods growing through the cracks in the sidewalk.
The EcoFlora project was developed by the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) and is in collaboration with four gardens across the country, including Desert Botanical Garden, Denver Botanic Gardens, Chicago Botanic Garden, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.