- 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 Desert Botanical Garden and the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA). The focus of the project is to increase understanding of biodiversity and urbanization, make plant science meaningful and open for everyone, and contribute to local conservation efforts. Urban environments can be overlooked when considering biodiversity studies and this has both ecological and social implications. The Metro Phoenix EcoFlora is addressing these urban biodiversity challenges by creating opportunities to observe and learn about nature and urban ecosystems and to be engaged in scientific collaboration and plant conservation efforts. This in turn provides pathways for equitable access to environmental education and empowers community members to make contributions to plant science through the gathering of new floristic information and biodiversity data.
I am foremost a science communicator that is driven to contribute to other’s understanding and awe of the natural world, especially plant life. In the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora this takes shape in the form of journal posts, newsletters, social media presence, videos and coordinating collaborations, activities and events. I am also a scientist, analyzing data from the project and utilizing historic floristic information to understand how urbanization interrelates with biodiversity and social impacts in the metropolitan Phoenix area, and how this can be applied to conservation efforts. I am especially interested in urban ecosystems as they can easily facilitate the human nature connection, bridging the gap between wilderness and nearby nature. Biodiversity isn’t solely 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.