Photo Credit: Mitchell Coleman

Botany Ambassador Program

In 2018, the California Botanical Society launched a new program to inspire future botanists, and help build the communication and professional skills of current botany scholars.

We invite students of all levels as well as postdocs to participate in the program:

  • Develop and exchange botany teaching materials
  • Develop training skills as a docent at botanic gardens and museums
  • Give botany lessons at local K-12 schools and outdoor education venues
  • Judge botany projects presented by budding K-12 scientists at California science fairs in coordination with Justen Whittall, Madroño Editor
  • Write summaries, stories, and news briefs for a general audience of recent Madroño articles for posting on our website and publication in our digital newsletter, Nemophila
  • Peer review Madroño manuscripts (graduate students and postdocs only)
  • Showcase botany as a career

To participate or support this program, please contact Brianne Palmer, our Outreach Coordinator.

Introduce Botany to the K-12 Classroom
and Beyond

Botany Lesson Forms

Botany Ambassadors can work with local schools, gardens, museums and parks to implement botany lessons for K-12 students. Please let us know if you need help initiating this process in your area.

Here are a few lesson plans for K-12th grade classrooms as well as college-level materials to introduce botany:

Bay Area Scientists in Schools lesson plans

California Native Grasslands Association lesson plans

Ecological Society of America: Kids Into Discovering Science (KiDS)

College Introductory Botany

Materials for introductory botany developed by Adam Schneider, Hendrix College:

Jepson Herbarium Videos: Visual guides to the plants of California

Plantae: A global community and knowledge hub for plant scientists

San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy Botany Games and Resources for Kids

#wildflowerhour: Wild Flower (Half) Hour podcasts of wild plants from Britain and Ireland

Photo by Mitchell Coleman
Photo by Susan Fawcett
Photo by Mitchell Coleman
Photo by Mitchell Coleman
Photo by Mitchell Coleman
Photo by Mitchell Coleman
Photo by Susan Fawcett
Photo by Susan Fawcett

Create New Botany Lessons

We also welcome new lesson contributions. To create or contribute botany lessons to our program, please email Danielle Black.

Get started with our Botany Lesson Template:

Photo by Susan Fawcett

Interested in sharing your information with other Botany Ambassadors and botanical institutions?

Sign up and contact others using this list:

Photo by Susan Fawcett

Share Botanical Discoveries in Madroño

Would you like to help communicate to a broad readership the botanical discoveries reported in Madroño?

The California Botanical Society invites our Botany Ambassadors to write brief but informative summaries of Madroño articles published within the previous year.  These summaries will be posted on the Society’s website, displayed on our Facebook page, and published in our digital newsletter, Nemophila. In addition to being a great resumé-builder, your “translation” of a Madroño article will help increase the profile of the Society and our journal, while also spreading the word about the exciting discoveries of professional botanists, geographers, plant ecologists, and evolutionary biologists conducting research in the western U.S.  If you’d like to volunteer to write a summary for a general audience, please follow the following guidelines:


  • Please write to with a request to write a summary, indicating the author and title of the article as well as the Madroño issue in which it appeared. You will be notified as to whether your selected article is available or has been assigned to another volunteer.


  • The summary should be 250-500 words long and include synopses of: the motivation for the study, the focal questions it addresses, the methods used, the most important results, an overview of the study’s implications, and avenues for future research.


  • The summary should include a significance statement that expresses – in your view – why the paper is interesting, surprising, and/or noteworthy.


  • You may include open access photographs or images from the paper (e.g., figures that tell a clear story).


  • Please use non-technical language that is accessible to a general non-professional audience.  Technical botanical terms should be defined when used.


  • Provide an eye-catching title of your summary that draws attention to the nature of the research that you’re summarizing.


  • Please note that your summary may be edited for accuracy and clarity (or brevity!) by our Council members prior to being posted.
Madroño summaries by Botany Ambassadors
Photo by Susan Fawcett
Photo by Susan Fawcett
Photo by Mitchell Coleman
Photo by Susan Fawcett

Review Madroño Manuscripts

The Society invites graduate student and postdoc members of the Society to hone their critical skills as reviewers of Madroño manuscripts. Ambassadors will be working with Justen Whittall, the Madroño Editor, and will learn from the reviews provided by other reviewers as well as from the Editor’s final decision. If you wish to participate as a reviewer, please fill out this form:

Photo by Susan Fawcett

 ©2024 California Botanical Society

c/o Jepson Herbarium 1001 Valley Life Sciences Building Berkeley, California 94720-2465



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