Research & Results

Botanists for Cracovians

Ministry of Education and Science; within the program "Social responsibility of science – Popularization of science and promotion of sport" (amount of funding: 234 261 PLN)
Professor Lucyna Śliwa
Content manager
Dr Wacław Bartoszek


The project aims to disseminate botanical knowledge, the achievements of botanists and the importance of botanical collections. These goals will be implemented in direct contact with the recipients through a series of lectures, field trips and stationary workshops, as well as through the organization of an exhibition presenting the achievements and collections of outstanding botanists. Lectures will be conducted by speakers professionally related to botany, recruited from among the scientific staff of the W. Szafer Institute of Botany of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków. The organization of the exhibition and the preparation of the workshops will involve the technical staff working with the botanical collections of the National Biodiversity Collection of Recent and Fossil Organisms at the IB PAS on a daily basis.

The celebration of the Year of Botany (2022) in Poland became an inspiration for activities drawing the public's attention to the importance of botany and the issues raised within this branch of science. This is particularly relevant in the context of contemporary dynamic changes in vegetation (local and global), caused, among others, by human activity (urbanization) and climate changes. There is an urgent need to conduct continuous field observations aimed at recording changes in flora and vegetation (plant communities) related to the extinction of native species and the appearance of foreign, expansive or even invasive species from geographically distant areas. Observation of local changes in biodiversity can be successfully entrusted to properly prepared and trained amateurs. This project should therefore be treated as an attempt to initiate an amateur floristic movement in Kraków.

The planned exhibition, as well as stationary workshops and field activities, are intended to encourage the public to become interested in botany, primarily by providing knowledge about plants and fungi in the immediate vicinity and teaching self-identification of collected specimens using popular literature available to amateurs, as well as with the help of modern sources of knowledge, such as databases containing digitized scientific collections. These activities will increase the understanding of the value of native nature and raise awareness of the need to preserve it for the next generations. They will also help to understand the need to collect scientific documentation in the form of natural collections, especially such as herbaria. Participants will learn about the successive stages of the creation of a collection, the principles of its organization and modern use. They will also gain the ability to make a handy herbarium based on specimens collected by themselves from the nearest area. The project activities will broaden the knowledge of participants in the field of broadly understood botany, as well as issues on the borderline of botany and humanities, and will make them skilled in the proper use of botanical (biological) terms. During the field trips conducted in the area of Kraków, special attention will be paid to the characteristics of the city's location and the related species richness and diversity of vegetation, which are unique on a national scale. The events planned in the project are to encourage participants to explore nature on their own, spend their free time in the wild and lead an eco-friendly lifestyle.

See the project website.

Wawel Royal Castle.
Photo: Pixabay.