Plantings, The Journal of the World Sensorium Conservancy: Art, Science, Conservation
Plantings, The Journal of the World Sensorium Conservancy: Art, Science, Conservation

Issue 12: June 2022

A Garden of Passion and Compassion: Miami Beach Botanical Garden

By Gayil Nalls
June 1, 2022

An interview with members of a small staff protecting and preserving a plant world oasis in South Beach.

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Do Mushrooms Really Use Language to Talk to Each Other? A Fungi Expert Investigates

By Katie Field
June 1, 2022

This professor of plant-soil processes at the University of Sheffield says this ancient kingdom has an electrical language all of its own, transmitting information across thin filaments of a mycelium web linking fungal colonies.

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Ukraine Produced a Lot of Grain—Can Farmers Elsewhere Replace the Crops Lost to War?

By Hana Trollman
June 1, 2022

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The lecturer in food industry management at Nottingham Trent University says we’re depending on the weather.

Junk Food Is Bad For Plants, Too

By Anne Biklé & David R. Montgomery
June 1, 2022

Humans aren’t the only ones eating junk food.  Find out why feeding it to our crops comes at our own expense.

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When Plants Go to War

By Mike Newland
June 1, 2022

Plants may appear tranquil but they are under almost constant bombardment from pests. In the fight against insects, plants have evolved an arsenal of ingenious invisible chemical defenses.

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City Composting—One New Yorker’s Experience

By Véronique Firkusny
June 1, 2022

Composting is a wonderful way to enrich soil, and even in the city, composting at home is easy and environmentally beneficial.

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Issue 11: May 2022

The Narcissus in Art

By Clara Muller
May 1, 2022

Learn about the artistic traditions around the Auvergne narcissus across time, regions and cultures.

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Plants Have an “Ear” for Music

By Matthew Sedacca
May 1, 2022

The research suggesting that plants respond to music is very compelling. Learn how sound can stimulate growth.

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Pollen Can Raise your Risk of COVID-19

Interview with Lewis Ziska
May 1, 2022

The plant physiologist advises us on why pollen seasons are becoming increasingly intense.

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Protecting Biodiversity—and Making it Accessible—Has Paid Off for Costa Rica

By Alejandra Echeverri Ochoa and Jeffrey R. Smith
May 1, 2022

Learn how eco-tourism is paying off for the environment and biodiversity in Costa Rica.

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Nature Soothes and Restores: Enjoy the Practice of Forest Bathing

By Gayil Nalls
May 1, 2022

An instruction in how the sights, sounds and the natural phytoncides in forest air can benefit mind and body.

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Climate Change Triggering Global Collapse in Insect Numbers: Stressed Farmland Shows 63% Decline—New Research

By Tim Newbold and Charlie Outhwaite
May 1, 2022

Gain insight into the global insect crisis.

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Issue 10: April 2022

The Power of Harmony: Musical, Spiritual and Environmental

By Gayil Nalls • April 1, 2022

Plants sense their environment. Not only do they perceive scent, light, touch, wind, and gravity, they are able to respond to sound through the vibrations of music and the human voice.

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Taking Plants Off Planet—How do they grow in zero gravity?

By Anna-Lisa Paul and Robert Ferl April 1, 2022

Learn about research on the development of plants in zero gravity, a pursuit which could teach us more about how plant life will adapt to environmental changes in a future of planetary exploration.

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How the Loss of Native American Languages Affects Our Understanding of the Natural World

By Rosalyn R. LaPierApril 1, 2022

The scholar chronicles the ways in which Native languages hold vast environmental knowledge that cannot be sufficiently translated to English.

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What the Meadow Teaches Us: Feeling is the physics of the organic world

By Andreas WeberApril 1, 2022

How can we know where we fall into the great network of diverse organisms in the natural world?

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Can “Climate Corridors” Help Species Adapt to Warming World?

By Jenny McGuire • April 1, 2022

Urbanization has left natural ecosystems to exist only in small patches surrounded by developed areas, with no paths to other hospitable environments.

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When Plants and Their Microbes Are Not in Sync, the Results Can Be Disastrous

By Sheng-Yang HeApril 1, 2022

A recent study discovered a condition similar to inflammatory bowel disease, known as dysbiosis, in the plant kingdom.

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Issue 9: March 2022

Japan’s Cherry Blossom Viewing Parties—The History of Chasing the Fleeting Beauty of Sakura

By Nozomi Uematsu • March 1, 2022

Every year millions of people set out to view blossoming cherry trees, and take in their beauty and pleasing aroma.

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What’s Behind Japan’s Moss Obsession

By Mako Nozu and Brian Thompson March 1, 2022

Japan has a deep love of calming, ancient, and serene moss environments. Much like cherry blossom viewing, a movement for moss viewing parties and moss-themed everything has taken off in the country.

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The Invasive Emerald Ash Borer Has Destroyed Millions of Trees—Scientists Aim to Control It With Tiny Parasitic Wasps

By Kristine GraysonMarch 1, 2022

The author shares insights into novel ways to cope with a rapidly spreading invasive species.

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E.O. Wilson’s Lifelong Passion for Ants Helped Him Teach Humans About How to Live Sustainably With Nature

By Doug TallamyMarch 1, 2022

E.O. Wilson spent the last years of his life bringing attention to the mass extinctions in progress around the world and calling for action to save as much biodiversity as possible. 

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The Damask Rose in Art

By Clara MullerMarch 1, 2022

Inspiring centuries of creators, the rose, in symbol, form, and scent, has fortified culture.

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The US Biofuel Mandate Helps Farmers, but Does Little for Energy Security and Harms the Environment

By John DiCiccoMarch 1, 2022

As we try to meet our energy needs and move to renewables, it’s important to understand the environmental, political, and economic thinking process behind regulatory changes.

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Issue 8: February 2022

In this issue of Plantings, global culture writer and member of WS/C Board of Advisors, Braden Bjella, currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia, shines in his role as our inaugural Guest Editor. This February, Braden takes us to regions across Eastern Europe and Central Asia with an article collection of interviews, stories, and images, bringing knowledge and awareness of our world and its beauty. He introduces us to environmental thinkers, innovators, and trailblazers from Romania, Albania, Germany, Georgia, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan, who are taking actions to protect their part of the world. Each interview illuminates efforts at the forefront of progress during these challenging times, creating hope for us all.

Wild Romania: Europe’s Hidden Wildlife Paradise

February 1, 2022

Romania has an incredible breadth of wildlife — old growth forests, plenty of animals not seen outside Romania, and more. In his photography and new film Wild Romania, Dan Dinu shows that beauty to the world.

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Berlin’s Bog as Metaphor—or Why We All Live in the Bog

February 1, 2022

Frances Braden of the collective COVEN Berlin tells us that the idea that cities are separate from nature is a construct that is not real, as she explores the beauty of bogs, using both their power and their destruction as a metaphor for the Internet, life, and more.

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Russia’s 99recycle is Bringing Recycling Home

February 1, 2022

The Russian label 99Recycle turns the nation’s garbage into trendy bags and outfits. Its environmentally conscious entrepreneur, CEO, and co-founder, Anton Rykachevsky details the company’s history, the problems they face, and their plans for the future.

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Albania’s Goal of Making “The First Wild River National Park In Europe”

February 1, 2022

Olsi Nika inspires us with Albania’s goal of saving the Vjosë, the second largest river in Albania. His resilience and fight for nature encourages us all to persevere.

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Meet Your Trash

February 1, 2022

Kyrgyz artist and curator Bermet Borubaeva, who helped launch a trash festival detailing the problem of garbage in Kyrgyzstan, talks about her work and what people in the West should know about the problems of the East.

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The Many Secrets of Georgian Honey

By Braden R. Bjella • February 1, 2022

Georgian honey is some of the finest in the world. The country’s unique flora and fauna give the honey a taste like nowhere else.

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Issue 7: January 2022

How urban agriculture can improve food security in US cities

By Miguel Altieri • January 1, 2022

Urban agriculture is imperative for more people to have access to fresh and healthful foods.

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Fossils suggest an aquatic plant that bloomed underwater was among first flowering plants

By David Dilcher January 1, 2022

The Emeritus Professor of Geological Sciences and Paleobotany, Indiana University of the Montsechia, explores the fossil record of a plant which lived 130 million years ago.

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An environmental sociologist explains how permaculture offers a path to climate justice

By Christina ErgasJanuary 1, 2022

The ethical philosophy and sustainable practices of permaculture take on a new urgency in a warming world.

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Healthy soil is the real key to feeding the world

By David R. MontgomeryJanuary 1, 2022

The professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington, embarked on a 6-month trip studying the degradation of soil across farms.

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By Clara MullerJanuary 1, 2022

Poetry that amplifies our connection to the natural world and its range of emotions that defines the human experience.

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Scent and the Male Orchid Bee: A talk with Hsurae

By Gayil Nalls • January 1, 2022

Male orchid bees are perfume makers. They collect scents from floral and fetid objects to compose their perfume which they then store in special organs on the back of their hind legs. A practitioner of BioArt has preserved a form of this fragrance using the science of attraction. 

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Issue 6: December 2021

The Amazing Growth of the Christmas Tree

By François Lévêque • December 1, 2021

Explore the past, present, and future of the Christmas tree.

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Loved to death: Australian sandalwood is facing extinction in the wild

By Richard McLellan, David M Watson, and Kingsley DixonDecember 1, 2021

Part of rituals around the world since antiquity, Sandalwood is facing a crisis.

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Your skin can ‘sniff’ certain aromas that help it heal faster

By Hanns HattDecember 1, 2021

The German scientist, who discovered olfactory receptors throughout the human body, tells us why traditions of aromatic plants use for ‘magical’ healing really work.

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Guided by Plant Voices

By Steve PaulsonDecember 1, 2021

An Interview with plant ecologist Monica Gagliano who knows plants are sensitive, feeling beings.

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Inside my painter’s mind

By Catherine GropperDecember 1, 2021

The poet reminds us of our warming world and our shared humanity.

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Aromatic Flora and Priority Conservation

By Gayil Nalls • December 1, 2021

Learn how conservationists prioritize endangered species, and why conservation must involve us all.

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Issue 5: November 2021

Pennsylvania’s Best Kept Secrets: An Interview with Rebecca Bowen

By Gail Nalls • November 1, 2021

We spoke with the conservationist, who is protecting rare wild plants for the state.

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20 Beautiful New Biospheres

November 1, 2021

Take a look at 20 new biospheres that UNESCO has designated to help sustain life on our planet.

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Listening to Nature: How Sound Can Help Us Understand Environmental Change

By Garth Paine • November 1, 2021

Learn how exposure to the sounds of nature is good for our health, well-being and happiness and can tell us about the health of the environment.

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Learning to Speak Shrub

By Elizabeth Preston • November 1, 2021

An introduction to some thought-provoking ideas about how plants use molecular code to communicate and survive.

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Human Tendencies

By Amos Zeeberg, Jonathon Keats & Brandon Keim • November 1, 2021

With good humor, the writers tell us about the traits we share with plants and animals.

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Two Poems

By Judith McConnell Steele • November 1, 2021

A guide in poetry through the wilds of Idaho.

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Issue 4: October 2021

How other primates self-medicate – and what they could teach us

By Sophia Daoudi • October 1, 2021

An animal behaviorist tells us about monkey species that eat plants, soils, and charcoal to both treat and prevent diseases.

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A Fragrance Medicine Wheel Garden

By E. Barrie Kavasch • October 1, 2021

American Indian Medicine Wheel Gardens are an ancient and powerful way of creating a sacred planting space and working with natural energies for healing and renewal.

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“Molecular Still Lives” Show the Science in Our Food in Us

By Heather Sparks • October 1, 2021

A journey into the painting subjects that depicts our modern food supply and how it impacts our bodies and lives.

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Who Picks Whom?

By Jake Eshelman • October 1, 2021

Through photography and poetry, an artist and visual researcher explores the relationship between people, plants and magic, as told through the work and practice of aTexas-based witch, occult herbalist and microbiologist.

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The Wisdom of Plants and the Future of Fashion

By Daria Dorosh • October 1, 2021

A pioneering advocate of sustainable fashion asks us to look to weeds for clothing inspiration.

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Two of the Greatest ‘Healing Weeds’ in the World

By Nimal Chandrasena • October 1, 2021

An expert in the utilization of colonizing weed species profiles two highly significant medicinal plants from Eastern cultures.

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Issue 3: September 2021

Rediscovering Bee battles: why our native pollinators are losing the war

By Kelsey K. Graham • September 1, 2021

As global commerce grows, the movement of goods is occurring at ever-faster rates. And with increased global trade comes the spread of non-native species. This includes invasive insects that are making life difficult for domestic bees.

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15 Health and Well-being Benefits of Plants

By Charles Hall and Madeline W. Dickson • September 1, 2021

Why plants make us more resilient and help safeguard our future

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Why Some Species Thrive after Catastrophe – Rules for Making the Most of an Apocalypse

By Nicholas R. Longrich • September 1, 2021

Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid struck the Earth. The world was plunged into darkness, killing the dinosaurs and over 90% of all species alive. Today, every living thing descends from the handful of surviving species. But not all survivors thrived.

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Dumbarton Oaks Gardens; Celebrating Landscape and Legacy

By Liz Macklin • September 1, 2021

This year with a fanfare of blossoms and new energy in programs blending science and the arts, Dumbarton Oaks marks its one hundredth anniversary.

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Life Always Wins. Follow Me.

By Richard Harkess • September 1, 2021

A botanist is introduced to escapees from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

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Supporting Pollinators, Yourself, and Your Ecological Community with Anise Hyssop

By Gayil Nalls • September 1, 2021

With fragrance, food, and therapeutic properties, the giant anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) can be a big contributor to an eco-community.

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Issue 2: August 2021

Rediscovering Dumbarton Oaks and one of America’s First Landscape Architects

By Liz Macklin • August 1, 2021

Liz Macklin explores the historic garden at Dumbarton Oaks with Director of Garden and Grounds, Jonathan Kavalier, and discuss the genius of Beatrix Farrand’s design and ways to meet challenges in today’s gardens.

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We Crush, Poison, and Destroy Our Insects at Our Own Peril

By John Hainze • July 1, 2021

Insects are escape artists. Now they face a threat more pernicious than predation.

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Stilled Chimeras

By Margaux Crump • August 1, 2021

Troubling the myth of individual identity.

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Can Plants Think?

By Stuart Thompson • July 1, 2021

They could one day force us to change our definition of intelligence

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Why Do Flowers Smell?

By Richard Harkess • July 1, 2021

Animal pollinators can carry pollen from one flower’s stigma to another flower’s ovule as they forage for food

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The Plan of the Grounds

By Beatrix Farrand • July 1, 2021

Excepted from the Reef Point Gardens Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 3, September, 1948

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Issue 1: July 2021

How to Plant the Forests of the Future

By Lauren Oakes • July 1, 2021

In the past, forest restoration could be informed by what once was. Now we have to make hard decisions about what we’re working toward.

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Rising Levels of Carbon Dioxide: It’s personal

By Lewis Ziska • July 1, 2021

A large majority of people, even in the United States, recognize climate change as real, but the percent who are actively changing their lifestyle, aggressively fighting to prevent climate change is much smaller. Why?

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How small family forests can help meet the climate challenge

By Gabriel Popkin • July 1, 2021

This 95-acre woods in south-central Pennsylvania’s ridge-and-valley country is a hunting and hiking refuge co-owned by eight families. As much as he loves it, Leiby knows it could be even better.

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Mind the Gap Between Action and Impact

By Zachary Adams • July 1, 2021

Learning is rapid and reliable when rewards immediately follow the action and slow and even non-existent when rewards are substantially delayed in time.

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A Rare Plant Conservation Success Story from Gibraltar

By Gayil Nalls • July 1, 2021

Dr. Rhian Guillem of the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens discusses the Gibraltar Campion, Silene tomentosa.

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One Thing We Could All Do To Make a Difference

By Gayil Nalls and the WS/C Advisory Board • July 1, 2021

I asked WSC’s knowledgeable Board of Advisors who have diverse expertise and perspectives to name one thing they think we all can do to make a difference. This is what they said. 

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