“My Chicago Botanic Garden” Blog Tells Everyone’s Story
Regular visitors to the Chicago Botanic Garden call it their home away from home, one that makes a beautiful setting for a daily walk. Scientists, graduate students and interns see the Garden as a living laboratory for vital conservation efforts. The Garden serves as a place of lifelong learning for the thousands of students attending field trips, adults enrolling in an array of continuing education classes and visitors participating in a wide range of events. The Garden means many things to many people, but most members of the diverse Garden community seem to feel it’s “my Garden.”
The My Chicago Botanic Garden blog explores the many facets of the Garden through timely and relevant posts from our plant scientists, community gardeners, educators, horticulturists and occasional guests. The first-person accounts provide seasonal gardening tips, suggest ways families can interact with nature, report on Garden research and announce special happenings at the Garden.
“The blog was created to deepen our readers’ connection to the Garden,” said Cheri Van Deraa, director of online communications. Postings also raise awareness of the Garden’s hidden treasures and update readers on research dedicated to saving and protecting plant life.
Comment threads indicate that readers like the postings and are gaining knowledge from experts. Since its launch last November, viewership and subscriptions have grown through social media outreach via the Garden’s Facebook page,Twitter feed, eNewsletter and other outlets. The blog logged more than 17,000 page views in a recent five-month period.
The blog brings the Garden to life for the growing online community, according to Gloria Ciaccio, public relations director. “This gives people the opportunity to meet staff and get to know them before they arrive here,” she said.
One recent My Chicago Botanic Garden blog takes readers on a quest through 11 western states to find an elusive pincushion cactus (Pediocactus sileri) threatened by a shrinking habitat. Another describes a spring walk through the McDonald Woods to photograph trout lily, cutleaf toothwort and other early-blooming wildflowers. In a third, a lawn specialist details key aspects of spring lawn care.
The blogs are illustrated with photos from the vast Garden archives and contain informative and how-to videos. Readers can obtain additional information by following links to related material on the Chicago Botanic Garden website and trusted outside sites. To subscribe to the blog, visit my.chicagobotanic.org.
Here’s a look at other recent postings:
- -How did a rare nineteenth-century text on North American plants end up at the Garden’s Lenhardt Library? Learn how visitors can view the library’s rare book collection.
- -What do you need to know to take striking photos of butterflies found in the Garden’s Butterflies & Blooms exhibition? A professional photographer suggests equipment and staging techniques.
- -Can spiders fly? Learn how some spiders get around and how others catch their dinner. Hint: They don’t need a fishing pole.
- -A real-life Mothra: Catch a glimpse of one of the world’s largest moths, a brilliantly colored Atlas moth that recently emerged at the Garden’s Butterflies & Blooms exhibition.