By Patrick McShea
Plant Blindness refers to the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment. The term was coined twenty years ago by two botanists, Elizabeth Schussler, of the Ruth Patrick Science Educator Center in Aiken, South Carolina, and James Wandersee, of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The common condition, according to the pair, results in a chronic inability to recognize the importance of plants in the biosphere and in human affairs.
Fortunately, not all of us are afflicted. As evidence, CMNH Conservator Gretchen Anderson recounts a touching interaction she observed while conducting exhibit restoration work within the museum’s second floor Hall of North American Wildlife. From a just-opened elevator door a five-year old made a headlong dash to the diorama featuring a pair of mature jaguars and their three cubs. “LOOK Dad!” he called back to his father while pointing into the display, “CACTUS!”
For additional information about Plant Blindness, visit: https://plantsocieties.cnps.org/index.php/about-main/plant-blindness
Patrick McShea works in the Education and Visitor Experience department of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.