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Garden Hosts Meeting for National Leaders in Plant Conservation

Conservation leaders from around the country gathered at Lauritzen Gardens in early October for a meeting of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC).  The CPC is a coalition of botanical institutions across the United States working to conserve the nation's endangered plants.  Lauritzen Gardens was honored to become part of the CPC network in 2012.

The meeting, October 7-9, involved the board and staff of the CPC and included the executive directors of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden (California).  Also in attendance was Dr. Peter Raven, former director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and one of the world's most renowned botanists.  Lauritzen Gardens executive director Spencer Crews also serves on the CPC board of directors.

While much of the three day meeting was devoted to the business of the organization, the schedule also included a tour of the new Conservation Discovery Garden at Lauritzen Gardens and a field trip to Hitchcock Nature Center in the Loess Hills of western Iowa.  Meetings of the CPC board typically include a visit to a local natural area that exemplifies the unique ecology and conservation challenges of the region.  Hitchcock Nature Center, operated by the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board, provided an outstanding setting for attendees to experience tallgrass prairie in its full autumn splendor.  Chad Graeve, Natural Resource Specialist at Hitchcock, gave the group a highly informative overview of the history of the land and efforts to conserve and restore the natural ecosystems of the area, then led a hike out into the prairie.  Participants were surprised and thrilled by the beauty of the Loess Hills.

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