"…ketika kau tetap mendayung sampan sendirian di tengah sungai yang dipenuhi beban kesedihan, tangis, dan darah tercecer dimana-mana, ketika kau terus maju mendayung bukan karena tidak bisa kembali, tapi meyakini itu akan membawa janji masa depan yang lebih baik… "
The Academic Decline: How to Train the Next Generation of Botanists
Although federal agencies need educated botanists, only a handful of colleges still have botany programs
by Allie Bidwell
Krissa Skogen is a conservation scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where she spends her days researching a family of plants known as the evening primrose.
She and her colleagues study different features of more than 100 species of the sunny yellow flowers: How big are their petals? How much nectar do they produce? What combination of compounds in their fragrance attracts the most pollinators?
While it might seem like a particularly nuanced job for only a certain niche, Skogen says understanding the relationship between plants and their pollinators can have a large effect on other sectors.
"Only through having that information can you then make predictions about what might happen if we lose some of the pollinators or some of the plants, what the consequences might be," Skogen says.
Put another way, how would food crops that rely on bee pollination – such as pumpkins, peaches, apples tomatoes and avocados – be affected by losing a species of bees?
That’s one application of studying botany in college.
But more and more, colleges and universities are getting rid of their botany programs, either by consolidating them with zoology and biology departments, or eliminating them altogether because of a lack of faculty, funds or sometimes interest. And at the same time, many trained botanists in federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, are nearing retirement age, and those agencies are clamoring for new talent…