The largest gift in the garden's history will support the establishment of the Plant Conservation Synthesis Center and the center's efforts to convene experts, policy makers, and scientists to develop solutions to local and national environmental problems. The gift also will name the Negaunee Institute for Plant Conservation Science & Action, support scientist and staff positions currently paid for by government grants, and fund a challenge grant for scholarships in the Plant Biology & Conservation graduate program at Northwestern University.
Based in Northbrook, Illinois, the Negaunee Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Consolidated Electrical Distributors founder Richard Colburn.
Among the first challenges the Plant Conservation Synthesis Center will address are invasive species, said Greg Mueller, chief scientist and Negaunee vice president of science at Chicago Botanic Garden. "There is an increasing strain of plant moving into the system that out-competes with and replaces our native species."
(Photo credit: Chicago Botanic Garden)