Improve your knowledge of plants with GPS

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We are all aware that using your GPS while driving can assist you in finding the destination you are searching for.  Are you also aware that you can use your GPS to assist you in the world of plants?  If you are a lover of plants, the "In the  field: Introduction to GPS Mapping" class (Thursday, Sept. 22, 6-8 p.m.) could open a whole new world for you.

Denver Botanic Gardens' Research and Conservation department will be leading this useful and interesting class.  Their department uses GPS extensively in their work with plants in the wild (especially when locating rare and threatened species) – both in locating the plants and in documenting where they found the plants so that they can easily be found again.

Now you may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with me – a home gardener…a novice plant lover?”

Using your GPS, you can map and document the location of plants in your own garden (so that you know exactly what you planted and where) or you can document where you found a special flower while out on a hike so that you can find it again.  Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of finding a specific, favorite plant that you’ve never seen growing wild but would like to.  You could visit the Gardens' Herbarium (where we have lists and locations of many species growing here in Colorado) and determine if we have the GPS coordinates to help you fulfill your dream.

If you’re concerned about needing a special type of GPS unit for this class or this task, don’t worry.  The simplest of GPS models can be effective at helping you with these projects.

And if your knowledge of how to use a GPS is minimal or nonexistent, fear not.  This class will teach you some of the basics:

  • Learn about different types of GPS units and their capabilities
  • How to use a GPS unit to locate something (plants, favored hiking trail, etc.) with map coordinates
  • How to create and input coordinates

This class will also give you hands-on experience with a scavenger hunt throughout the Gardens (you can bring your own GPS or borrow one of ours).

Your searches need not be limited to Colorado and/or information available from the Gardens' Herbarium. Your newfound knowledge can be put to use by visiting (in person or often online) various herbaria around the country to locate thousands of plant species.

If you find that you really enjoy this type of botanical exploration, the Gardens would love to have your help.  After taking the class, you are welcome to sign up to assist the Research and Conservation Department in their work at locating and recording various rare and threatened plant species. There are still many species that need to be located or returned to for research purposes (seed collection, counting, etc.).

Join us by registering online or calling Denver Botanic Gardens' registrar at (720) 865-3580.

Comments

Sara Roster
I am helping my father with his fruit tree plant breeding work. We have been looking for a better way to tag each tree with its number and fruit characteristics. What GPS device would give us an accurate tree location, but is in the 'sweet spot' for being reasonable in price?
James Gallagher
I am a science teacher in Philadelphia, PA and our school has a wonderful, but severely underused, wooded area that surrounds our school. We are slowing carving out a nature trail and some outdoor classrooms and are looking for ways to incorporate this physical space into our curriculum. One project we are considering is a cataloguing the location of plant species. You course, In the field: Introduction to GPS Mapping is one that sounds as if it could serve us well. Do you have any supporting documents, field guides etc. that I could use to get this project started? Thank you in advance for your time, consideration and assistance! Sincerely, jim Gallagher 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher Lingelbach School Philadelphia, PA
Michelle DePren...
Hello Jim, I'd be happy to share some of the materials that might help you get started. Please send me an email and I can get you started or answer more questions you might have. That sounds like a wonderful use the surrounding environment. Michelle deprengm@botanicgardens.org

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