Once a friend said to me, “You can certainly get out of Agriculture but Agriculture won’t get out of you-ever,” while we were discussing how and why I switched careers and transitioned “smoothly” from Science to Social Sciences.
The knowledge and skills we acquire through our experiences and education become an integral part of who we are and continue to shape our perspectives and interests even as we move on to other areas of focus. It’s a testament to the lasting impact of education and the importance of staying connected to our roots, both literally and figuratively.
While several of my education research colleagues landed in Chicago this week for the #AERA conference, I headed to Miami to check out the stunning Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, meet with the project team, manufacturing specialists, educators, and plant scientists from NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration for the grant, Growing Beyond Earth (https://lnkd.in/e8MbDAMm). I presented on the evaluation findings for the grant which is part of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and SciActivation efforts.
The FTBG is a vibrant oasis nestled in the heart of Miami. As I walked through its lush and verdant grounds, I was struck by the beauty and diversity of the plant life that surrounded me. Everywhere I turned, there was something new and exciting to discover. From towering palms to exotic bromeliads, elephant ears, cycads, and the airplants-everywhere! (even huge iguanas, a crocodile) each species seemed to have its own story to tell. I marveled at the intricate patterns and colors of the orchids and breathed in the fragrant aroma of the gardenias. Literally, I took walks in the garden and also got a special tour in a golf cart – 83 acres in all.
The FTBG is more than just a collection of tropical plants. It’s a living laboratory, where scientists and researchers work to uncover the secrets of the natural world. From developing new methods of plant propagation (million orchids initiative to revive the endangered species) to studying the effects of climate change on tropical ecosystems, the work being done at the FTBG is crucial to understanding and protecting our planet’s biodiversity.
The FTBC is also home to Dale Chihuly exhibits: “Chihuly at Fairchild: Reflections on Nature,” “Chihuly: Drawings and Glass,” “Reflections on Nature” is a collection of Chihuly’s glass sculptures, which are strategically placed throughout the garden’s landscape to complement the natural beauty of the surroundings.
As my visit drew to a close, I felt a sense of gratitude for this unique and special place. The FTBG is a testament to the beauty and resilience of the natural world, and a reminder of our responsibility to protect it for future generations to come.
I have certainly checked off a bucket list item. These are the memories that will last for as long as I live.