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Garden Director's Hemet lecture will celebrate 60 years of UC Riverside's Botanic Gardens

Dr. Jodie Holt discusses UC Riverside Botanic Gardens' 60-year journey to becoming a cherished Inland Empire sanctuary.

Dr. Jodie Holt stands proudly in UC Riverside's Botanic Gardens

The SAGE Society of Hemet will host a presentation on February 13, 2024, focusing on the history of the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens, a cherished natural haven nestled in the city's foothills. Dr. Jodie Holt, the Director of the University of California Riverside Botanic Gardens, will serve as the presenter for this informative event.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens has evolved from a modest research and teaching garden on the university's Riverside campus to a sprawling forty-acre sanctuary. The Gardens now boast a meticulously curated collection of over 3,500 species and 10,000 specimens and an array of themed and geographic gardens, infrastructure, trails, a plant nursery, and more. The presentation will delve into the global significance of botanical gardens and arboreta, focusing on the history of the UCR Botanic Gardens.

One of the garden's unique features is its multiple geographic gardens representing Mediterranean and desert regions worldwide. Notably, the topography and microclimates within the Gardens provide a surprising haven for a grove of California Coast Redwoods. The UC Riverside Botanic Gardens also serves as a wildlife preserve, where observant staff, volunteers, and visitors often have the privilege of spotting new bobcat kittens during the spring season.

Dr. Jodie Holt took on the role of Director after a distinguished 30+ year career as a Professor at UC Riverside. Her journey in botany began with a passion sparked in her first botany class, eventually leading her to earn a BS degree in Botany at the University of Georgia and pursue MS and PhD degrees in Botany from UC Davis.

During her tenure at UCR, Dr. Holt managed a research program focused on the ecology of invasive exotic weeds, guided numerous students, and held leadership positions, including Chair of the Botany & Plant Sciences Department and Divisional Dean of Agriculture & Natural Resources. Her commitment to education was further acknowledged with the UCR Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008. In addition to her academic achievements, Dr. Holt's botanical expertise extended to notable consulting work, including contributions to the movie Avatar and related projects.

Dr. Holt will use this presentation to discuss how her role as Gardens Director has allowed her to combine her passion for botany, outdoor education, interpersonal skills, mathematics, philanthropy, and more into a dynamic "second career."

The event is open to the public and scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, with a social gathering at 1:30 pm, followed by the presentation at 2:00 pm. in The Ramona Room behind Miller-Jones Mortuary at 1501 W. Florida Avenue, Hemet.