Thinking outside the botanical box to increase inter-campus collaborations was the theme of a recent meeting of MUN Botanical Garden staff and interested individuals at Grenfell Campus.
Several members of the Memorial University Botanical Garden staff – Kim Shipp, garden director; Madonna Bishop, research liaison; and Todd Boland, research horticulturalist – visited Grenfell earlier this week to share their story and explore further collaborations.
An open meeting and several departmental meetings were productive, opening doors for new partnerships and collaborations.
"We need to think outside the box, and expand our knowledge," said Mr. Boland, adding that while botanical and horticultural projects are the obvious fit, the garden is very much looking forward to working with other fields and specialties. "We're very interested in partnering with non-traditional disciplines, branching out to things that are not horticulturalist based."
Located in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden is the province's premier botanical garden. Five nature trails, a large cultivated garden area, and a greenhouse are incorporated into the 100 acre nature reserve. The Field Centre houses the gift shop, which displays local crafts, gardening books and other giftwares; the garden café; and several different art shows throughout the season. Devoted to research and education, the garden has been developed to display plants native to the province and cultivated plants suitable to the local climate and to provide access to a number of habitats through a system of trails.
While at Grenfell, the garden staff met with faculty and staff from visual arts, counselling services, the environmental science program and the Boreal Ecosystem Research Initiative. Possible collaborations might include fostering a culture of mindfulness, providing peaceful and healthy places in which to work and study, and investigating species that might be considered invasive to the agricultural industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. They also discussed visual arts related initiatives such as artist residency programs and exhibits at the garden.
"Our research facilities are available to internal and external individuals and groups," said Ms. Shipp, adding that multi-campus projects at Grenfell and other Memorial facilities are possible through the inter-campus collaboration program.
For more information about the garden, contact Kim Shipp, director, MUN Botanical Garden, 709-864-3326 or visit www.mun.ca/botgarden