2014 Annual Conference Highlights: Field Trips

DBG Field trip

Field Trip to Denver Botanical Garden and the Museum of Nature and Science

The action-packed week at the Boulder Annual GNSI Conference in July somewhat addled my brain – in a wonderful way, of course! I had forgotten one of the reasons I signed up for this field trip. Imagine my visual delight when our Friday field trip group walked into the Denver Botanical Gardens and I saw the Dale Chihuly artwork exhibit nestled in the plantings.

>2014 GNSI Conference field trip to DBG Greenhouse

First on the agenda was a tour of the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi with curator Vera Evenson. Most of us had not been in such a place and we enjoyed learning about collecting, recordkeeping, and preservation techniques and viewed a nice array of specimens. These folks also remind us how important it is to work with the community when observing and collecting as she described the unique story of how a huge specimen called Fred was added to their cabinets.

>Vera Evenson, Fungi expert next to Fred

DBG VeraWe moved from that area of the DBG to behind-the-scenes greenhouse tour. While orchids experience many man-made crosses we saw the great variety to be found in wild varieties. This room also held the garden’s collection of pitcher plants. Our guide related a story about pitcher plant research on the nutrient requirements provided by trapped insects. However, one species never had insects in the phytotelmata chamber. Upon further study, they found the trigger hairs on the operculum under-surface attracted bats and their guano, dropped into the chamber, provided the nutrients! The aquatic plant greenhouse also held their species of the carnivorous sundews. One interesting species captures and digests its food below the soil. Evolution is a grand thing.

After a lunch break in their café overlooking more glass art in a reflecting pond, we moved on to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where we enjoyed a relaxed self-guided afternoon tour.

>Chihuly exhibit at DBGChihuly exhibit at DBG

Chihuly exhibit at DBG

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