Food, plants and pollinators: UBC Botanical Garden's Virtual Explorer Day

The UBC Botanical Garden Virtual Explorer Day, hosted by NatureKids BC, Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation and the UBC Botanical Garden team, took place on August 8. The event presented viewers with a phenomenal opportunity to embrace the green thumb culture through a prerecorded video and offered the chance to learn more about the native species in the garden through an in-depth discussion afterwards.

During the event, nature mentor Dr. Tara Moreau taught about BC native plants and the wonders of biodiversity. As the Associate Director of Sustainability and Community Programs at the UBC Botanical Garden, Moreau plays a large role in educational programs, sustainability initiatives and thinking up new ways to get the community more involved in anything plant-related.

Here are a few interesting facts that I learned during the event: a metal platform located in the garden is made of seven suspension bridges; there are many fields growing medicinal crops; and there is a tunnel that leads to every area of the garden.

The Botanical Garden is actually made up of numerous gardens that incorporate countless plants from different parts of the world. For instance, the physics garden has a lot of medicinal and nutritious plants, the food garden grows edible crops, the BC-rainforest garden plays host to indigenous species and the Asian garden features species from, you guessed it, Asia.

Additionally, the Botanical Garden has samples of 30 per cent of the world’s plant collection — biodiversity is a key priority for the Botanical Garden team, especially Moreau. There are 250 to 300 types of edible plants that grow in the food garden that are are typically harvested by volunteers and then donated to the local community.

A challenge that Moreau brought up for viewers was to take the time to count the types of plant foods in their fridges and what part of the plant each of these foods come from.

Moreover, as 2021 is the year of fruits and vegetables at the UN, celebrating the value of a balanced diet and the nutritious benefits derived from this food group was a key point during the event. It is recommended, when exploring the Botanical Garden as well as the Tree Walk, to bring your favourite books or apps to assist you in identifying plants, animals and crops. A quick drop by their gift shop is a great way to get said resources and support the Botanical Garden.

Moreau encouraged attendees to be more active with growing their own foods or even just growing their own plants as decorations in their homes.