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California Botanical Garden is preserving native plant life

Words by Tess Becker

We might be in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event in the history of the Earth, according to researchers.

To preserve life at risk of extinction, seed banks have begun popping up. The most famous of those vaults is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault outside the Arctic Circle, but another seed vault is doing work trying to guarantee the survival of native California plant life.

The California Botanical Garden in Claremont is working to preserve the over 6,500 native plants in the state. They do this by either growing and propagating the plants in their gardens or by harvesting and then freezing living seeds, essentially preserving them in stasis. 

“We have more kinds of plants than any other state in the United States,” says Naomi Fraga, director of conservation programs at the California Botanic Garden. “We’re incredibly rich and diverse.”

How is it helping?

With the threat of pollution, development, and wildfires, about a third of California’s plants are endangered and that’s one of the main reasons the Botanical Garden started doing the work of preserving and cataloging plant life, something that they’ve been doing since 1927.

One of the best ways that people can help the California Botanical Garden preserve native plant life is by planting and maintaining California plants in individual or community gardens. 

“I dream about that,” says Naomi. “I dream about native plant landscapes across people’s yards, even if you can only do container plants on your balcony. It’s magical to build a garden and see life just sort of arrive.”

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action among others.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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