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This November, the Arthur Ross Greenhouse hosted a special open house for scholars from the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) and Barnard staff. Vanessa Bezemer Sellers, the director of NYBG’s Humanities Institute, invited a cohort of research fellows to join a guided tour of the 2,100-square-foot facility led by Greenhouse administrator Nick Gershberg and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Biology Hilary Callahan. The event, Gershberg says, marked the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the Greenhouse was able to open its doors to outside guests.
“The Greenhouse is part of Barnard’s long tradition of providing the opportunity for students and visitors to interact directly with living plants from around the world,” says Gershberg. “The plant collection and the research possibilities we offer serve as a launch pad for exploration of a diverse range of studies, including not only the sciences but all of the liberal arts.”
For many visitors, it was their first time stepping inside the Greenhouse and exploring the collection of roughly 650 plant species housed in the rooftop glass structure atop Milbank Hall. Gathering near leafy plants and a table of orchids, NYBG fellows learned about the facility’s unique history and resources while sharing their own research projects with Barnard staff.
“Barnard’s Biology Department greenhouse has always had a connection to the New York Botanical Garden. We share many of the same early founders and supporters, and, of course, through Professor Emily Gregory, this botanical tradition is firmly part of our legacy,” says Gershberg. “We are proud to actively maintain this rewarding connection, and, needless to say, we were thrilled to be able to host the contingent from NYBG. We could not think of a better way to recommence our community activities.”