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ONLINE Celebrating Black Botanists

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Join Queens Botanical Garden on Zoom for an online family series celebrating Black achievements in the field of the botany. Workshops will feature prominent and relatively unknown historical Black botanists and scientists, demonstrations of their discoveries, and suggested at-home activities inspired by their work. The program will also highlight current BIPOC-led organizations that are carrying on the legacy of their achievements. Advanced registration required for each session.

Monday: Explore the work and impact of George Washington Carver. Called the “Wizard of Tuskegee,” Dr. Carver made significant contributions to the field of botany. Learn how plants played a very important role in his early life and later achievements. You will also see a demonstration with some plants Carver worked with and paint with plants, using plant materials for pigment and painting instruments. Suggested Materials: overripe berries, turmeric, spinach leaves, paper, brush.

Tuesday:  Explore the work and impact of Edmond Albius. Born into slavery, Edmond Albius became an important figure in the cultivation of vanilla. Learn about his revolutionary technique for pollinating the vanilla orchid, which he invented at the age of the 12! You will also see a demonstration on the parts of a flower and the pollination process as participants have the opportunity to build a flower out of paper! Suggested Materials: tape or glue, colorful paper or plastic bags, white paper, scissors, q-tips, glitter.

Wednesday: Explore the work and impact of Dr. Marie Clark Taylor, the first Black woman to earn a PhD in botany. Dr. Taylor studied the influence of light on plant growth and was especially interested in how a plant decides to stop growing stems and leaves and instead starts growing flowers. Join QBG to learn more about this brilliant, trailblazing botanist as we explore plants that grow with and without light. Suggested Materials: dry lentil seeds or peas, shoe box, small plastic cup, paper towels or potting soil.

Thursday:  Explore the work and impact of Percy Gentle, a relatively unknown yet influential plant collector and botanist who amassed thousands of specimens. To demonstrate his work, see a demonstration making pressed plant specimens and observe and describe plants. Suggested Materials: cardboard, newspapers, scissors, rubber bands, cardstock paper, glue, plant parts (leaves, flowers, etc.)

Friday: So many of the plants we eat and enjoy everyday – sweet potato, rice, peas, cassava – are due to the transfer and cultivation of seeds by enslaved people from Africa. Join this workshop to explore the often overlooked impact Black botanical knowledge has had on our foods today. Suggested Materials: seeds from melons, dates, peas, sweet potato, potting soil, flower pot.

Upcoming Events at Queens Botanical Garden

About Queens Botanical Garden

43-50 Main Street

Flushing, NY


    Queens Botanical Garden is an urban oasis where people, plants, and cultures are celebrated through inspiring gardens, innovative educational programs and demonstrations of environmental stewardship.