Key concept:  Engaging students in the discovering of biodiversity on a campus of a school or university can turn into a solid and valuable research project for years to come through turning their data collecting into the basis for a flora or plant checklist of the area.  This article describes this process at Rutgers University, where the Flora of Rutgers Campus was run as a class project in 2011).

Abstract: Student participation in floristics at the university level is essential for the longevity and expansion of botany, plant ecology, and their many associated
fields, but knowledge and college course options have been decreasing. In many cases students are unaware of the botanical biodiversity that is right in front of their eyes. We started a project called Flora of Rutgers Campus (FoRC), which provides students with hands-on outdoor fieldwork as an engaging and effective way to experience botany first hand. In 2011, 32 students participated in this project and uploaded 580 vouchered observations to a database. In total, we found 98 families, 200 genera, and 259 species on the Cook/Douglass
campus of Rutgers University in New Jersey. Nearly 10% of the state’s flora was found on 317 urban/suburban acres. This project strongly increased the
students’ knowledge of local plants, opened their eyes to “see” plants everywhere,

Authors: Lena Struwe, Lauren S. Poster, Natalie Howe, Christopher B. Zambell, and Patrick W. Sweeney

Source:  Plant Science Bulletin (2014): DOI: 10.3732/psb.1400008 (download the pdf below, 11 pages, in color)

Article: The Making of a Student-Driven Online Campus Flora (286 downloads)