Thesis Summary: Succession Planning in Public Gardens


This gallery contains 6 photos.

  In order to ensure the security and longevity of an organization, it is necessary to identify  future challenges and plan for them long before they unfold. One of the most daunting issues can be how to embrace change in … Continue reading

We’re (almost) Halfway There: LGP First-Year Fellows in the Midst of Thesis Work

While the second-year Fellows are preparing to defend and defending their theses, the first-year Fellows are hard at work tackling their research projects. The Class of 2017’s theses cover a wide range of topics, from human resources-related issues to food systems education and Millennial engagement in public gardens. Keep reading to learn more about their individual research!

LGP Class of 2017. Back row: (left to right) Grace Parker, Erin Kinley, Alice Edgerton. Front row: Elizabeth Barton and Tracy Qiu

LGP Class of 2017. Back row: (left to right) Grace Parker, Erin Kinley, and Alice Edgerton. Front row: Elizabeth Barton and Tracy Qiu

Tracy Qiu is researching racial diversity in public horticulture leadership. She will be performing interviews with leaders in the public horticulture field who represent racial diversity in the workforce. Through her research, she hopes to identify pipelines to leadership for minorities and people of color, perceptions of diversity in the field, barriers and challenges, and areas for future success.

Grace Parker is investigating succession planning in public horticulture. Her goal is to build a body of research that identifies the status of succession planning in public horticulture and to determine best practices for our unique field. Grace is currently concluding preliminary interviews with 30 gardens within the American Public Garden Association membership, and plans to follow up with focus groups and case studies.

Booderee Botanic Gardens, Australia. Both at home and abroad, the first-year Fellows engage with leaders from around the world to discuss hot topics in public horticulture.

Erin Kinley is evaluating food systems education and interpretation in U.S. public gardens. By partnering with the American Public Garden Association and Benveniste Consulting, Erin just received survey data back from over 100 gardens in the U.S. and Canada to determine the scope and content of food systems programming at public gardens. Next, she will be conducting phone interviews and on-site observations of select programs to identify best practices for food systems education at public gardens.

Alice Edgerton is exploring racial diversity in public garden internship programs. She believes this topic is an intersection of two of public horticulture’s most pressing challenges: the lack of young people entering the profession of horticulture and the need to diversify public garden staff. Alice will soon be interviewing current and former interns of color as well as internship administrators—feel free to contact her if you are interested in being interviewed (!

Elizabeth Barton’s thesis work investigates Millennial engagement with cultural institutions, specifically public gardens. She is interested in helping gardens cultivate and communicate with a Millennial audience. Elizabeth plans to explore this timely topic through a series of surveys, phone interviews, and case studies.


Blue Mountains Botanic Garden-Mount Tomah, Australia. From succession planning to Millennial engagement, the LGP Class of 2017 is engaged in a variety of research topics critical to the future of public horticulture.

For more information about the LGP Class of 2017, check out their bios on the Longwood Graduate Program website, or visit their personal websites (hyperlinked with their names in the descriptions above).

The Power of the Internet; Museums and the Web 2011

(written by Aubree Pack)

This month I had the opportunity to attend a conference I’ve had my eye on since last year. Although my first love will always be horticulture, my interests have grown to include understanding how public horticulture institutions can utilize the different opportunities that technology can provide. Exploring how we can use technology in innovative, sustainable, and problem solving ways is a passion of mine.

Museums and the Web, hosted by the Archives and Museum Informatics organization, is designed by and for museum professionals, features the best work from around the world, and highlights the use of new technologies in the museum context. Imagine my excitement when it was being held at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia this year! Over 25 countries were represented and over 600 individuals attended.

(A selected slide from the Plenary Session)

The opening plenary session was a fun start – it was presented by Kristen Purcell of the Pew Internet Research group. She provided an overview of the data they had found for currently trending topics. The overall focus was on how the internet is currently shaping our country. Some of the subtopics included cell phone use across all demographics, teens use of texting and social media (it may surprise you, but teens are using social media less and less – primarily because it’s no longer ‘their’ space. Parents have invaded!), mobile, the changes in how society finds information, etc.

(Another selected slide from the Plenary Session)

A new experience for me was the ‘un-conference’. After my confusion as to what it meant subsided, I was really excited about it.  (thank you Wikipedia! Yes, I use Wikipedia; I openly admit that I’m not afraid of user generated content :)) Okay, so if you don’t know what an un-conference session is, it’s a participant driven session where anyone can suggest a topic and groups are formed around those topics. (I attended Crowdsourcing Plus Tools for Mobile User Generated Content)

(Here is part of the list of topics that came up in the un-conference – it was really hard to choose!)

Other sessions I attended were Social Media and Organization Change, Online Presence and the Act of ‘Just Not Being There‘, Mobile and Geolocation Issues (Getting on, not under, the mobile 2.0 bus), Web Crit Room (existing webpages were evaluated by a panel of professionals), How to Evaluate Online Success, Professional Forum on Re-Thinking Evaluation Metrics, Mini Workshop on Grid Based Web Design, Mobile Crit Room (existing mobile initiatives were evaluated by a panel of professionals), and a few other in conference opportunities. A few of these sessions were direct connections with my thesis research, so it was great to speak with professionals about their similar work. Here’s a teaser about my thesis, should you be interested…

(From the Mobile Crit Room – they put a camera over a smartphone so we could all see the multiple apps)

I would love to talk to anyone about these sessions that is interested; I’m not going to put details abut them here lest this blog post become WAY too long. But I’ve learned so much from this conference; I’m hoping to continue to attend them in the future.

Questions? Comments? Would love to hear them! E-mail me at aubreecherie (at) gmail (dot) com