The move of Biology's plant collection back into the new Greenhouse space was featured in University of Washington Magazine. Quoted in the article are Katie Sadler, Greenhouse Manager, and David Perkel, UW Biology Chair and Professor.
Five days, 19 moving trucks, 28 volunteers, nine staff and as many as 3,500 unique species. And now, after five years away, the UW’s world-class plant collection is back on campus. It has a new home in a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse attached to the new Life Sciences Building.
In October, the biology department moved its prized plant collection from temporary digs in Redmond. The relocation posed a few challenges—25% of the collection is hanging plants, and the greenhouse team is still working on placing them all, says Katie Sadler, the greenhouse manager. Also, cacti can be tricky to transport.
“Overall, I’d say the move went beautifully,” says Sadler, crediting her team of nine—regular, temporary and undergraduate workers. It wasn’t simple, though. Before the trucks arrived, the group spent days marking each plant for the move, deciding in which greenhouse room it belonged. Now the group needs more time to ensure each plant is optimally placed. Some have even left the greenhouse facility. The coffee plants, for example, are now in the main building next to the coffee shop. And some prehistoric plants found their home on the paleobotany floor.
The new facility replaces the old botany greenhouse, which was built in 1949 to support genetics research. In the 1980s, the botany department stepped in and started filling the rooms with specimens from around the world. Beyond its use for teaching and research, it was a beloved spot for faculty and students just wandering through “for their sanity’s sake,” says David Perkel, chair of the biology department.