The 2022 Philadelphia Flower Show has wrapped up and Villanova’s Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Stewardship (CBEST) made a big splash with its educational and award-winning exhibit, “Blooming Biodiversity.”
“Blooming Biodiversity'' explored local habitats and native plants and their relevance to the health of ecosystems and humans alike. Featuring a bog, a marshy wetland, an upland forest, and an open meadow, “Blooming Biodiversity” was designed and implemented by a team of students and researchers at Villanova in order to showcase the variety of Pennsylvania ecosystems. The exhibit focused on Pennsylvania species and the importance of native biodiversity to the resiliency and health of habitats in a changing world.
Each of the exhibits’ mini-ecosystems flowed one into the next. Blooms and textures within the systems were populated exclusively with native trees, shrubs, and herbs, adding to the viewer’s sense of natural abundance. The meandering boardwalk, much like those built at research sites used by the students and researchers, ran throughout the exhibit to help connect science with nature. In order to explain the complicated systems involved, the team placed research tools throughout the exhibit (such as a precipitation collector used to evaluate rainwater chemistry, field notebooks, and automated bird feeders used to tease apart bird behaviors) which encouraged viewers to think about how and why we seek to understand ecosystems and how important they are globally.