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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Frazee, Lauren [1], Morris-Marano, Sara [1], STRUWE, LENA [2].

Urban Environmental Education and Outreach using Edible, Wild, and Weedy Plants.

Educating the public about the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem function to human and environmental wellbeing is becoming increasingly difficult in today's world. Over half of the world's population now lives in urban and suburban areas, where many native plant and animal species have declined in abundance since the time of human settlement. In addition, access to green space is limited in some cities and towns. Weedy plants, however, have adapted to all the disturbance-prone environments that humans create and inhabit, from agricultural fields and suburban lawns to city sidewalk cracks. We hosted an education and outreach table entitled "Eat Your Weeds: How to Safely Savor Wild Edible Plants" at this year's Rutgers Day, an annual campus-wide event celebrating Rutgers University in urban New Brunswick, New Jersey. Rutgers Day is our university's opportunity to present unique research, collaborative programs, and student life to the community; over 70,000 people attend this event each year. We foraged for local weedy plants and developed simple, fun recipes to prepare with them in the spring. On Rutgers Day, we offered free samples of select food dishes with fresh and preserved weeds as key ingredients; handed out informative pamphlets for edible plant identification and preparation; and talked with hundreds of visitors about the public misconceptions and under-looked virtues of weeds in society. This event promoted the utilization of wild botanical resources to adults, children, teachers, and students in a practical and personal way. Our goal is to encourage community members to make meaningful connections with plant life, soils, and ecological processes. We see the widespread diversity and appeal of wild, weedy plants as a globally accessible opportunity for public outreach as well as nature education.

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1 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, 14 College Farm Rd., 1st floor, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA
2 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resorces, 237 Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA

botany education
public outreach

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PTE006
Abstract ID:320
Candidate for Awards:None

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