Research &
conservation

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Alpine Plant Conservation

Plant conservation is an integral part of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Our goal is to educate visitors about the deterioration of plant biodiversity around the world and particularly the vulnerability of the worlds high alpine flora.

At 8,200 feet on the Roof of the Rockies, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is uniquely positioned to address conservation of the fragile alpine environment. The Gardens has partnered with Denver Botanic Gardens to author the North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation. Through a series of Objectives and Targets the goal of the strategy is to create a plan for protecting North America’s alpine plants.

North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) was North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Alpine Plant Conservation was developed due to the need for a global vision to protect plants. The GSPC initiated excitement and rallied conservation organizations and particularly botanic gardens to a joint plant conservation cause. As a result of the GSPC, other strategies, both international and country based, have been developed, all with specific objectives for conserving plants.

Our areas
of focus

In Situ Conservation

Working with plants in their natural setting is always a priority.

Identifying the most important alpine plant communities is critical to understanding conservation priorities. Important Plant Areas (IPA’s) are area with high species richness as well as areas with rare and threatened species.

Plant monitoring techniques are used to gain an understanding of population changes year by year. This information can help make informed decisions for conservation.

Ex Situ Conservation

In contrast to work conducted in the wild population, ex situ efforts focus on creating conservation collection in the botanical garden setting, such as banking seed and propagation studies

Banking seed from wild populations is an important step for preserving species for the next generation

Propagation Studies

Working to understand how to grow plants from seed is critical to their conservation.

Planting Succulents at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Outreach

Botanical Gardens are uniquely positioned to spread the word.

The Gardens creates a changing anuual theme focused on fragile mountain ecosystems to engage new and returning visitors of all ages. Fresh exhibits and family activities match the always updated themes. The intention is to provide significant experiences that lead to a lifetime of conservation behaviors

Toolkits that can travel to classrooms, botanic gardens and other informal learning environments is part of the outreach strategy. An alpine ecosystem curriculum will also be designed for botanic garden staff, docents and visitors of all ages.

Global Efforts

Organizations all over the world are mobilizing in an effort to conserve plants and their habitats

The Global Stategy for Plant Conservation – a Plan to Save the World’s Plant Species – grew out of the Convention on Biological Diversity and is being fed into government policy around the world. The GSPC highlights the importance of plants and the ecosystem services they provide for all life on Earth, and aims to ensure their conservation. The GSPC, with its 16 targets, was first adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2002. The GSPC targets were renewed and updated in 2010.

The International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Plant Conservation (IABGC) was a policy framework for botanic gardens worldwide to contribute to biodiversity conservation and to demonstrate how their work contributed to policies such as the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). IABGC was first published in 2000 following the publication in 1989 of the Botanic Gardens Conservation Strategy by the Botanic Gardens Conservation Secretariat of the IUCN (now Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)).

Plant diversity is indispensable. Beyond sustaining a healthy planet, it impacts societal, economic, and political stability. The aspirations described in the Stategy provide a useful framework to focus local and regional plant conservation efforts toward the collective achievement of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC).

Botanic Gardens Conservation International’s work focuses on plant conservation, public engagement, services for botanic gardens, and training and capacity building.

The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) is a one-of-a-kind network of conservation partners, collectively known as CPC Participating Institutions (PIs; now including more than 65 institutions), that collaboratively work to save the imperiled plants of the United States throughout their native range.

Baobab Trees - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Partnerships & Citizen Science Projects

River Watch Logo

Project River Watch

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens staff are voluntary stewards who work with Colorado River Watch to monitor water quality and other indicators of Gore Creek watershed health. Data has been collected statewide since 1989 and is instrumental in crafting informed water resources policy in addition to educating citizens about the health of Colorado’s streams. River Watch is a statewide volunteer water quality-monitoring program operated by the nonprofit 501©3 Colorado Watershed Assembly in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. There are approximately 120 different organizations actively participating in the program.

Samples are collected monthly, which are analyzed in-house for hardness, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature. Additional samples are analyzed at the CPW Laboratory in Fort Collins for total and dissolved metals. Twice a year nutrient samples are tested for ammonia, chloride, sulfate, total suspended solids, total phosphorous, nitrate and nitrite. One physical habitat assessment accompanies an annual macroinvertebrate sample which is sent to an outside lab for identification.

River Watch data is stored on an internet server and can be accessed by anyone. All the data are reviewed and validated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife before it is made public. The high quality River Watch data is currently utilized by the Water Quality Control Commission, CPW, and many grass roots level watershed groups in the state for the management of Colorado’s waters.

Water Sampling at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Project Budburst Logo

Project Budburst

Project Budburst, sponsored by the Chicago Botanic Gardens, is a collection of researchers, educators, gardeners, and community scientists working together to illustrate the human impacts on the natural world around us. Together they tell that story through data collection, data sharing, education, and personal connections.

Researchers use the data collected by community scientists to address important environmental questions and contribute to lasting conservation action to preserve the planet.

Center for Plant Conservation Logo

Center for Plant Conservation

CPC safeguards rare plants by advancing science-based conservation practices, connecting and empowering plant conservationists, and inspiring all to protect biodiversity for future generations.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a Partner Institution in this national effort to protect North America’s rare natural flora. CPC shares best practices for plant conservation and coordinates efforts between organizations.

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European Alps - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Colorado Pika Project Logo

Colorado Pika Project

In the face of a climate crisis, the Colorado Pika Project is engaging community scientists to conserve the American pika and safeguard the health of alpine ecosystems in Colorado.

The Colorado Pika Project is a research project implemented by community scientists across Colorado. Through long-term monitoring of pika populations, we are not only providing useful data to researchers and land managers, but we are doing so in a way that educates and engages Coloradans in conservation and the local impacts of climate change.

Three Gardens' staff members are trained to collect data on the American Pika during hikes in the alpine.

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