My internship with Betty Ford Alpine Gardens was a great introduction to the world of plant conservation. Throughout the summer, I worked with Nicola on North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation targets, specifically, creating a list of all North American alpine plants. As part of this project, I contacted authors of floras and field guides, National Forest Service botanists, and various land management agencies to gather data on different alpine areas throughout the U.S.A. and Canada. The research involved helped me to understand what organizations are involved with documenting and conserving plants within these areas.
As part of the internship, I also had the opportunity to hike and explore areas within Colorado, both to see plants in their native habitat and collect seeds and herbarium specimens for seed banking and sharing. Working with the team at Betty Ford and often, Denver Botanic Gardens, I learned how experts identify species in the field, collect herbarium specimens, and gather seeds for a variety of uses.
Working in the gardens on a day-to-day basis, I learned additional horticultural skills and how a public garden is maintained. Colin and Nick were great resources when learning about plants I’d never seen before. The collection and the beautiful setting made Betty Ford an amazing place to spend the summer!
– Brittney Marshall