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Emily Griffon

Saving the Alpine One Seed at a Time

February 28, 2021

Emily Griffoul

You think alpine plants are small? You should see the seeds! Join us for a virtual presentation with Betty Ford Alpine Gardens’ Conservation Scientist, Emily Griffoul. She will take viewers on a behind-the-scenes look at the process of conserving the alpine through the plants that are the backbone of this fragile ecosystem.

Griffoul is leading the implementation of the Gardens’ North American Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation to promote understanding and protection of vulnerable alpine species and habitats through ex-situ collections, surveys and mapping of alpine areas, collaborations with partners in other gardens and federal agencies, and engaging with the public. She collects seed for preservation and propagation and surveys the alpine areas in Colorado with rare and endangered plants to develop understanding of the alpine and identify and address threats.

Brought to you in partnership with Vail Public Library and the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read. This speaker series is supported by the Town of Vail Commission on Special Events and a local family foundation.

Dr. Steve Ruskin

The Amazing Alice Eastwood

January 20, 2021

Dr. Steve Ruskin

When Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-author with Charles Darwin on the theory of evolution, came to Colorado in 1887, he wanted an expert to guide him to alpine plant locations. Alice Eastwood (1859-1953), the self-taught high school teacher in Denver, was the best there was. She wrote a guide to flora of the Denver area in 1890, and, afterward, began extending her field observations to other parts of Colorado and then onward to California. Eastwood became the herbarium curator for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in 1891 where she remained until she voluntarily retired at the age of 90. Alice is most famous for her daring act of rescuing the type specimens of California plants – those that are the defining ones for a species – from the wreckage and fire of the 1906 earthquake. Join historian Steve Ruskin for his take on her life.

Alice Eastwood
Curator of Plant Collections, Nick

Creating the Caucasus Garden

January 12, 2021

Nick Courtens

A journey with Betty Ford Alpine Gardens' curator, Nick Courtens about the vision and creation of the Caucasus Garden (rock garden) in Ford Park.


Gray Wolves

Restoration of the Gray Wolf to Coloarado: What Does Science Tell Us

October 15, 2020

Dr. Rebecca Niemiec and Dr. Kevin Crooks
CSU Center for Human-Carnivore Coexistence

A ballot initiative to reintroduce the Gray Wolf in Colorado will be put before the voters of Colorado this November. The ballot measure would require reintroduction on designated lands to begin by December 31, 2023.

Please join Dr. Rebecca Niemiec and Dr. Kevin Crooks of the CSU Center for Human-Carnivore Coexistence as they discuss the ecology and public perspectives of wolf reintroduction in the state.

Rebecca Niemiec

Dr. Rebecca Niemiec’s research focuses on understanding the drivers and outcomes of community conservation action. She is particularly interested in applying conservation psychology theory and methods to design and evaluate community outreach and engagement programs for conservation.

Kevin Crooks

Dr. Kevin Crooks’ research has emphasized the ecology and conservation of mammals, often focusing on carnivores due to their sensitivities to environmental disturbances.


Brad Udall at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

The Colorado River and Changing Climate

Science Elevated Speaker Series
August 25, 2022

Brad Udall
Senior Water and Climate Research Scientist, Colorado Water Institute, Colorado State University

Water is life for mountain communities. How do the changes in climate impact the future of the Valley? Climate scientists agree that the Colorado River Basin is already much warmer and will continue to get warmer – over 1°C since the mid 20th century and potentially 2°C or more by mid-century – resulting in reduced stream flows and increased system losses. Udall explains what this means for the ecosystem and all those dependent who live and recreate in this area.

Dr. Steve Ruskin

A Splendid Journey: Famous 19th Century Botanical Explorers in Colorado Rockies

July 28, 2020

Dr. Steve Ruskin

Join historian and author Dr. Steve Ruskin as he describes the unique individuals who discovered and documented the botanical wonders of Colorado.


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