California Botanical Society

Botany Ambassador Program

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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

K/1st Grade: Botany On Your Plate

1st Grade: All About Seeds!

1st Grade: Roots, Seeds & Stems: Putting Plants Together

2nd Grade: Plant Life Cycle

3rd Grade: Plants Adapt to their Environments

Botanical Society of America

Resources for Teaching Botany Online

California Native Grasslands Association lesson plans

K/1st Grade: State Grass and State Flower

9th-12th Grade: Anatomy of a Grass

9th-12th Grade: C-Sequestration

College Introductory Botany

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

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

5th Grade: KiDS: A Framework for Place-Based, Hands-On Ecology

5th Grade: KiDS Experimental Log

5th Grade: KiDS Experimental Log Key

Jepson Herbarium Videos: Visual guide to the plants of California

For more Jepson videos and to subscribe

Baccharis pilularis (Asteraceae) :: Coyote Brush

Diplacus pictus (Phrymaceae) :: Calico monkeyflower

Fouquieria splendens :: Ocotillo

Fritillaria affinis :: Checker lily

Hesperocallis undulata :: Desert lily

Lupinus arizonicus :: Arizona lupine

Mentzelia involucrata :: Silver blazing-star

Mohave confertiflora :: Ghost flower

Scoliopus bigelovii (Liliaceae) :: Fetid adder’s tongue

Polystichum minimum :: Western sword fern

Sequoia sempervirens (Cupressaceae) :: Coast Redwood

Umbellularia californica (Lauraceae) :: California Bay

Washingtonia filifera :: California fan palm

Invasive plants: Acacia (Fabaceae)

My Cozy Garden: The Life Cycle of Plants

The Life Cycle of Plants

Plantae: A global community and knowledge hub for plant scientists

Teaching Tools in Plant Biology

San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy

High School: Coastal Wetlands Field Ecology Project: Vegetation Communities (pages 15-25) Botany Games and Resources for Kids

Botany games & resources for kids

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

Children’s wild flowers

Create New Botany Lessons

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

Get started with our Botany Lesson Template:

Botany Lesson Template

Botany Ambassadors in the Classroom

Interpret Madroño articles

The Society invites members (including undergraduate and graduate student members) of the Society to write non-technical summaries, stories, and news briefs for general audiences that “translate” recent Madroño articles, which will be published in our digital newsletter, Nemophila, and on our website. If you wish to serve as a botany ambassador interpreter, please refer to the Madroño summaries sheet to make sure other ambassadors have not chosen the same article. After you write a draft you will be paired with another member to swap summaries for an informal peer editing process. Please also refer to the following instructions:

Instructions for Madroño Summaries

Madroño summaries by Botany Ambassadors

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:

Peer Review Sign-up Form

Photo: Alexander C. Yang

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Photo: Alexander C. Yang

Photo: Alexander C. Yang