June 10 – Cicadas!

Presenter: Holly Walker 

Love them or hate them, this year the east coast is going to encounter a phenomenon that only happens once every 17 years. We will see billions of insects – more specifically, cicadas – crowding our region for a four-to-six-week period in the late spring through early summer. Smithsonian Gardens Plant Health Specialist Holly Walker will answer the pertinent questions – Where have they been? What’s the difference between Annual vs. Periodical Cicadas? What’s all that noise? What do they do? What are they good for? – and maybe convince us to respect their role in the environment. 

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June 17- Houseplant Diversity and the Benefits of Taxonomy Knowledge

LTG - Houseplant DiversityPresenter: Virginia Thaxton

The world of houseplants is very diverse, having many common and familiar species as well as some unique and uncommon ones. Join interiors horticulturist Virginia Thaxton as she shows us some of the diversity that is available and helps us answer the question “who is related to whom?” when it comes to our houseplants. She will explain why plant taxonomy is a very important science for those of us who love plants, and how fun and useful it can be getting to know them on a first name basis! 

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June 24 – Carbon in the Capital Region: Analyzing changes CO2 concentrations in Washington D.C. during the COVID Pandemic

Presenter: Marc Rosenfield and Leona Neftaliem 

Let's Talk Gardens, Marc The coronavirus-related lockdowns affected human beings and nature in many ways. Unusual animal sightings occurred in many cities, while human beings dramatically changed their daily lives and commuting patterns. But did these changes to everyday life affect the air we breathe? Marc Rosenfield, an ecosystem ecologist and PhD candidate at George Washington University, studied the exchange of carbon dioxide between the land and the atmosphere during the pandemic to answer the question. With his collaboration with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Marc Rosenfield, Leona Neftaliem and their collaborators built and deployed 33 carbon dioxide sensors around the Washington DC metropolitan area, including the Enid A. Haupt Garden and the Anacostia Community Museum. The sensors have been collecting carbon dioxide, temperature, pressure, and humidity readings every 5 minutes for over a year. Now, Rosenfield is analyzing the data to see how photosynthesis, urban planning, and traffic changes have affected carbon dioxide cycling in and out of the atmosphere. The pandemic offered a rare opportunity for Rosenfield to observe how the environment reacts to drops in human activity. 

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