Planning for Natural Disaster Damage in Botanical Collections

Living collections invariably come in direct contact with meteorological elements every day. Usually this direct exposure is what plants need to survive; however, during extreme weather conditions, such exposure can be destructive to plants. Plant collections are the life-blood of public gardens; no plants, no gardens. Simply put the process of disaster planning helps to ensure the safety of plant collections and the relevancy of botanical institutions.

While extraordinary plant safety measures may not be warranted for every plant or every collection in the non-botanical museum world, the process of disaster planning is useful in general management practices. The disaster planning process forces staff to evaluate collections that are used every day, as well as those that may be overlooked in daily operations. What are the collections strongest features? Are there any threats to the collection that leave staff unprepared? Are there any maintenance practices in need of attention for plant health and protection? Are the rarest or most threatened specimens duplicated and shared with other gardens in the region or country? Such questions may not arise in every day collections management, but they are very important when evaluating the collections’ long-term safety and security, and can be addressed through disaster planning.

This webinar will discuss the disaster planning process and how a simple template was created for the garden world to evaluate and protect plant collections. Botanically focused collections or not, webinar participants will learn how to identify and potentially mitigate risks to their holdings. Planning related polls and questions, (i.e. how many cultural institutions represented have collections management plans for what to do if a hurricane hits? And, does our heritage tree out front deserve special treatment?), will be woven into the discussion.


Trained with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry from UC Davis, and a master’s degree in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program, Jackie Salas has managed landscapes in public and private gardens for ten years. In 2011, Jackie joined Children’s Fairyland, America’s first storybook themed amusement park for children, as Landscape Supervisor and Horticulturist. Prior to working at Fairyland, Jackie assisted in management of a 17-acre private estate whose landscape was designed by the landscape architect and designer, Lawrence Halprin, and in nursery research at the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy.

Recorded: Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Duration: 1 Hour 27 minutes



Planning for Natural Disaster Damage in Botanical Collections PowerPoint Slides

Planning for Natural Disasters Damage in Botanical Collections Handout

Natural Disaster Planning Template for Use in Plant Collections Management