Fresh perspectives

Artemesia tridentate. Certainly nothing I’d ever heard of before. An informative yet understandable synopsis from my lovely mentor, Olga, illuminates both the common name (Sage brush) and the plants connection to the not technically-endangered-yet-alarmingly-close-to-it Sage Grouse. I’d seen these wild and extravagant looking birds before. My introduction to them was less of environmental concern rather than one of curiosity and wonderment at the birds’ strut which is comprised of the production of a unique serenade of popping sounds from the males’ air sacs which the females judge by duration and internodal frequencies. As intrigued as I was, I hardly gave the research or the birds a second thought until my more recent reacquaintance. This time I was to see the birds and their habitat through the eyes of a room full of conservationists, botanists, and the minority of federal employees who view plant restoration and botanical research as of critical importance. The group comprised of students just beginning their experiences in the field and well-developed and specialized professionals who met for the Conservation and Land Management workshop that was to occupy our first week in the Chicago Botanic Garden as interns. I was to hear of Sage brush for the first time and then only a few short days later as I learned of my task of investigating its germination patterns and efficiencies for the purpose of more effective restoration. Perhaps a little late to the trend being primarily informed in cell and molecular biology, my formal introduction to the significance and history of ecological research has begun. The Seeds of Success campaign was a particularly inspiring project to learn about as the determination of so few were able to mobilize a national project to secure genetic diversity of our native plants amongst many other valid goals. My experience learning about research for translation to restoration purposes has been exciting, eye-opening, and made me very proud to be contributing to some of the necessary work being done. Going forward, I am optimistic about learning more of the field, my project, and actualizing my role in the research to be done.