During our recent stairwell work in the Boettcher Memorial Education Building, all of our staff and visitors had to avoid the public stairwell and use the elevator or the stairs near my office. One day, I found a child and chaperone looking for their school group. I volunteered to guide them to the classrooms to see if their group was there. We stepped behind the scenes, through a shadowed hallway to the stairs. At the bottom, the stairs open into a hallway between the research department offices and the herbarium. As we passed through, I explained “This is where the scientists work.”
And as we headed towards the classrooms, I realized how cool that was. I am one degree of stairwell removed from the specimen storage, data analysis and knowledge creation that make up that scientific enterprise at Denver Botanic Gardens. Just imagine all that brand new knowledge seeping up that stairwell.
Unfortunately, new knowledge doesn’t seep passively: it has to be actively understood. Even those of us who know the stairwell have to ask, read and learn to gain understanding. We invite you to understand all that these researchers do for plants, for western ecosystems and for all of us.