Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by DyNasia . DyNasia Wonders, “Can plants still continue life without humans?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, DyNasia !
What do you want to be when you grow up? How about an exciting career as an actor or a musician? Perhaps you’d rather be a basketball or soccer player? Or maybe you’re a fan of flowers, grasses, trees, and all sorts of other plants. If that’s the case, then this Wonder of the Day has just the career for you. It’s all about the exciting world of botany!
Are you WONDERing how studying plants can be exciting? You might be surprised. Let’s take a closer look at what botanists, or scientists who study plants, do.
Can you name all the plants in the world? Of course not! There are so many grasses, vegetables, flowers, and trees out there. The sheer number of plant species can boggle the mind. As a botanist, you would have a huge number of species to study.
Botanists can work in many settings. Some are teachers or researchers at colleges and universities. Others may find work in botanical gardens, zoos, or greenhouses. They may even be hired by science labs, medicine companies, or government agencies. Many botanists do both lab and field work.
There’s no end to the types of work you could do as a botanist. You could study how pollution or climate change affects different species. You could use advanced genetics to grow new or improved pants. You might even find a new species or new uses for well-known plants. You could focus on improving crop yields or making new medicines. Maybe you’d develop new fuels for the world’s ever-growing energy needs.
Today, one out of every five of the world’s plant species is threatened with extinction. Some botanists work to save them. One example is Steve Perlman from the University of Hawaii’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program. His life’s work is to preserve the 238 plant species in Hawaii that are near extinction.
Perlman’s work takes him into the field regularly. There, he sometimes fences off endangered species from grazing goats and pigs. At other times, you might find him rappelling off cliffs or climbing mountains. He does so to collect specimens in places where humans and animals can’t easily reach. He’s even spent time pollinating the last few individuals of some species by hand!
Some might consider botany a boring field. But Perlman would tell you it’s just the opposite! What other exciting botany adventures can you imagine having?
Standards: NGSS.LS2.C, NGSS.LS4.C, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1