Plant Talk | Science Talk

Small Treasures in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library

Posted in From the Library on March 17th, 2017 by Jane Lloyd – Be the first to comment

Jane Lloyd is a volunteer in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of The New York Botanical Garden.

Thuya-Lodge-bookplate-by-Jane-Lloyd-December-2016[1]As I huffed and puffed my way up that steep path from the road to Thuya Garden high on the hillside near Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine, I thought that this time curiosity about the books in the Rare Book Room of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library had taken me too far. That day in July 2016 was blisteringly hot and I was sweaty and thirsty. But there it was at last, a rustic board-and-batten house with a porch, appearing out of the forest of evergreen trees and shrubs at the end of the stone path. It looked just like the drawing on the bookplates I’d found in two books in the Mertz Library.

Joseph Henry Curtis (1846-1928) began to summer at Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island on the Maine coast in the 1870’s and later he bought a property on the slope of a mountain near Northeast Harbor, becoming one of the first summer residents of a growing summer colony of wealthy families. Curtis spent the rest of his life turning his property into a mountainside park, building a trail with granite stairways and scenic lookouts ascending the steep slope to a board-and-batten cottage that he named Thuya Lodge after the local white cedar tree, Thuja occidentalis. In 1905 Curtis created a trust to maintain his estate as a public trust for the local community; when he died his friend Charles Savage became director of the trust.

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Princeton-Mellon Exchange Program

Posted in From the Library on March 17th, 2017 by Vanessa Sellers – Be the first to comment
Students on the Princeton-Mellon Trip

Mellon Coordinators Aaron Shkuda (Princeton) and Vanessa Sellers, with the NYBG Mellon Fellows on Princeton’s Campus

On October 19, 2016, the Humanities Institute’s Andrew W. Mellon Fellows traveled to Princeton University to visit their colleagues at the Princeton School of Architecture Mellon Initiative and participate in an Urban Forum surrounding the topic of “Nature in the City.” During this visit, several of the NYBG Mellon Fellows presented their current research. Robert Corban, a doctoral student in the History Department of Columbia University and an intern at NYBG, gave a presentation about Benito Mussolini’s “Battle for Grain” and the impact on agriculture and industrialization.
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From Fossilized Plants to Modern Conservation, Bronx Students Discover the Herbarium

Posted in Learning Experiences on March 16th, 2017 by Tai Montanarella – Be the first to comment

Bronx students visit the Garden

What in the World is a Herbarium? is not just the name of the exhibition recently opened in the Ross Gallery that explores the role herbaria play in plant research, but was also the question on the minds of M.S. 45 Bronx middle school students. Recently, they had the unique opportunity to take an inside look at it with the Garden’s Director of Conservation Outreach, Daniel Atha.
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Colloquium: Shifts in the 19th-Century American Cultural Landscape

Posted in From the Library on March 16th, 2017 by Vanessa Sellers – 1 Comment

Image of an American Impressionist painting

The Humanities Institute hosted a Colloquium on Friday, September 9, 2016, entitled Shifts in the 19th-century American Cultural Landscape. Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas, this round-table looked at the various cultural-philosophic and economic forces that led to rapidly changing landscapes in America. Participants discussed how these developments impacted the 19th-century vision of nature, the art of landscape painting, and the design of gardens and choice of plants.
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Weekly Wildlife at the Garden: Paddling Along

Posted in Wildlife on March 15th, 2017 by Patricia Gonzalez – 1 Comment

Patricia Gonzalez is an NYBG Visitor Services Attendant and avid wildlife photographer.

Photo of a pair of hooded mergansers on the Bronx River

A pair of Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) on the Bronx River – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

Spotlights from the Shelf: Celebrating Culture and Nature with Books

Posted in From the Library on March 13th, 2017 by Samantha D’Acunto – Be the first to comment

Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden‘s LuEsther T. Mertz Library.

Photo of book, Call Me TreeThe LuEsther T. Mertz Library is pleased to welcome Lee & Low Books to the Children’s Collection. The titles below celebrate diversity and all reading levels through fun and colorful stories. Come by and check them out for yourself!

Call Me Tree / Llàmame arbol by Maya Christina Gonzalez (2014)

The bilingual poetry of Maya Christina Gonzalez in Call Me Tree / Llàmame arbol flows beautifully. She invites the reader to experience what it means to be a tree—from seed to leaves. From curling up very small like a seed in the ground to reaching high into the sky, this story will make young readers want to get up and be a tree! This a perfect book to read aloud as its language and illustrations are a treat for all to experience.
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What’s in a Name? Paphs, Cyps, and Phrags

Posted in History on March 9th, 2017 by Katherine Wagner-Reiss – 11 Comments

Katherine Wagner-Reiss has a Certificate in Botany from The New York Botanical Garden and has been a tour guide at NYBG for the past two years.

Photo of a Paphiopedilum orchidThe Orchid Show: Thailand features a genus of lady’s slipper orchids native to Eastern Asia known as Paphiopedilum. The Latin name has a beautiful background story relating to the birth of Aphrodite, goddess of love, beauty, and fertility.

According to ancient Greek myth, Aphrodite was born out of the sea, and landed at the site of Paphos on the island of Cyprus. A great temple was built in her honor at Paphos (and ruins remain there today). This orchid’s shape and beauty would have made it a suitable slipper for the goddess of love; hence it was named Paphiopedilum (Paphio- for the city of Paphos, –pedilum from the Ancient Greek word pedilon, meaning slipper).

Cypripedium is a genus of lady’s slipper orchid native to most of the Northern Hemisphere, and it also happens to have a name inspired by the popular Aphrodite (Cypri– because Aphrodite was the Lady of Cyprus). Another common genus of lady’s slipper orchid, native to Mexico and South America, has a much more scientifically derived Latin name: Phragmipedium (Phragma is Greek for “division,” i.e. the ovary is divided into three).
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Weekly Wildlife at the Garden: After the Hunt

Posted in Wildlife on March 8th, 2017 by Patricia Gonzalez – 1 Comment

Patricia Gonzalez is an NYBG Visitor Services Attendant and avid wildlife photographer.

I was at the right time and the right place for this one. After snapping a number of photos, I noticed a trace of blood on the hawk’s feet, which would explain why it sat for so long. After successfully capturing prey, hawks often rest on a perch, grooming themselves and sometimes standing on one foot, as you can see here.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) in the Thain Family Forest – Photo by Patricia Gonzalez

Threshold: Biodiversity, Climate, and Humanity at a Crossroads

Posted in Adult Education, Learning Experiences on March 3rd, 2017 by Vanessa Sellers – 1 Comment

L0011338 Hourglass in red leather covered case, second of two views.Humanity has reached a crossroads in the effort to combat climate change and protect biodiversity. On March 9, the Garden will host the Humanities Institute’s Fourth Annual Symposium, offering a vital discussion between three renowned experts and the larger public on biodiversity and nature conservation in the era of climate change. Convened by the Humanities Institute and the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University, this symposium will serve as a critical introduction to vital issues about the future of life on Earth, as we ask ourselves challenging questions that need expert knowledge and guidance. For example, what does biodiversity mean in the broader context of 21st-century environmental politics and ethics, and in the specific case of the 2016 Paris Agreement? Is there a common, sustainable future possible in this new period of American isolationism? What are the most urgent ecological, political, and ethical laws that need enforcing to ascertain the availability of the world’s natural resources to tomorrow’s generation?

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Spotlights from the Shelf: The LuEsther T. Mertz Library Children’s Collection

Posted in From the Library on March 1st, 2017 by Samantha D’Acunto – Be the first to comment

Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden‘s LuEsther T. Mertz Library.

We Dig WormsThe LuEsther T. Mertz Library is happy to share with you some of our newest additions to our Children’s Collection! We’re delighted to feature a range of reading levels and genres for this post. We hope to see you in the library soon!

We Dig Worms! by Kevin McCloskey (2015)

In We Dig Worms Kevin McCloskey demands the reader’s attention by celebrating one of nature’s smallest creatures, the worm! Through a series of hand-painted illustrations, all of which are depicted on recycled paper bags, the reader is able to observe the work of an earthworm. The importance of a worm’s work is explained with simple vocabulary making this book great for new readers.
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