Rare Plant Conservation Program Wins “Livable Polk” Award

On the evening of August 27 at Polk State College in Lakeland, Polk Vision and the Polk Transportation Planning Organization presented the 2014 Livable Polk Awards.

Polk Vision is a broad, community-led partnership of organizations, businesses, government and individuals acting collectively to ensure implementation of Polk County’s community vision.

Conservation Manager Cheryl Peterson and Rare Plant Specialist Juliet Rynear accepted one of only three Judges’ Choice Awards on behalf of the Gardens’ Rare Plant Conservation Program (RPCP). The RPCP defines the Gardens’ conservation mission and its commitment to conserving and enhancing our understanding of Florida’s rarest plants.

Bok Tower Gardens is partnering with communities throughout Polk County and other conservation groups to preserve and restore rare plant species and habitats, therefore helping to make Polk a better place to live. We are one of only 39 institutions nationwide that participate in the Center for Plant Conservation, a national coalition dedicated to conserving and restoring the rare native plants of the United States. Approximately 64 of Florida’s rarest plant species are housed at the Gardens. Living material is carefully collected from the wild and maintained in one or more of our 60 endangered planting beds or dry seed storage facilities.

Endangered plants that are being protected through the Rare Plant Conservation Program grow in only a few known Florida locations (thanks in part to population re-introductions by Cheryl, Juliet and their team!), and most can’t be found anywhere else in the world.