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Botany Bill Reintroduced in Congress


March 15, 2019

The GCA supports legislation's promotion of botanical research and native plants

On March 6, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) introduced the Botanical Sciences & Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration and Promotion Act (the Botany Bill), a legislative priority of The Garden Club of America.

The Botany Bill, H.R. 1572, promotes botanical research, the hiring of botanists and a preference for native plants. It would create a student loan repayment program for botanical scientists to encourage more students to enter the field and would require states to utilize native plant species where possible and practical.

Similar Botany Bills were introduced in the last Congress, H.R. 1054 and S. 3240.

Currently, H.R. 1572 has 22 co-sponsors from around the country.

In introducing the bill, Rep. Quigley said: “We are living in a time when the work of environmental scientists is becoming increasingly important for the health of our planet and the people, animals, and plants that call it home.”  

In a press release announcing the re-introduction, Quigley reported that “the country is projected to lose nearly half of its botanical expertise in the next decade as experienced scientists retire and are not replaced, leading to a myriad of direct and indirect costs both in dollars and in the loss of critical cultural native landscapes. Both the Bureau of Land Management, which employs on-average just over 1 botanist per 4 million acres managed, and the US Geological Survey, have already reported a deficiency in botanical capacity.”

On February 26, Rep. Quigley addressed the GCA’s annual National Affairs and Legislation (NAL) Conference in Washington, DC where more than 300 delegates from around the country convened. Rep. Quigley underscored the importance of botanical knowledge to “battling threats like climate change and habitat loss and to finding solutions to a variety of pressing challenges both locally and across the country.”  

Carrie Rebora Barratt, CEO of the New York Botanical Garden; Ari Novy, CEO of the San Diego Botanical Garden; and Kayri Havens, Senior Scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden appeared at the GCA NAL conference in support of the bill outlining the distressing decline in botanists, the need for botanical research, and a solid supply of native plants. They represent three of more than 72 distinguished horticultural organizations around the country which support the bill.  

Right photo: 2019 NAL Conference Panel on the Botany Bill. Leslie Fogg, panel moderator, and panelists: Kayri Havens, Carrie Rebora Barratt, and Ari Novy.


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