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A Seminar for Grant Writers: November 10

On Monday, November 10, 1997, the Office of the Vice Dean for Research and Research Training will sponsor a seminar entitled "The Art and Science of Obtaining Federal Funding" in the Dunlop Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor, Stemmler Building). Our mission is to educate fellows, faculty and research trainees on the various funding opportunities available for research. We will discuss what procedures are involved in preparing a grant, the available sources of support for research, and where to get help at the University of Pennsylvania.

The seminar will run from 1 to 4 p.m. and a light lunch and coffee will be available beforehand. An excellent group of faculty members have been assembled and they will discuss various successful ways to obtain research support. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Phillip Gordon, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, and he will speak on "Perspectives from the National Institutes of Health." The seminar is designed for junior faculty, fellows, grant administrators, and other research trainees but all are welcome to attend. Copies of the 1996-97 Grant Writing Manual will be distributed. To register please e-mail Ameena Al-Amin at or call at 898-1205.

- Office of the Vice Dean for Research and Research Training, School of Medicine

Sited on the Web: Plants of Pennsylvania

The flora of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are now "searchable" thanks to the Morris Arboretum's important new web site. Gardeners and botanists, students and land managers, and just plain web surfers can click on to search the Arbore-tum's "Flora of Pennsylvania" database.

No other state can boast such a comprehensive and readily accessible body of knowledge on its flora. Morris Arboretum is the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and has developed this powerful research tool over the past six decades.

The database of the Pennsylvania Flora Project represents the total accumulated knowledge of the occurrence of plants in Pennsylvania; and selected portions of the database are now available for anyone to search. The on-line database yields statewide information, but specific geographical information is not included on-line, in order to protect sites where rare and endangered species are found.

The electronic database grew out of a formal project launched by the Arboretum in 1933 to compile information from herbarium specimens, and to prepare a mapping system that would represent all the native and naturalized plants known to occur in Pennsylvania. For many years, information gleaned from 400,000 herbarium specimens was recorded on manual file cards.

The specimens are actual dried and mounted plants, together with identification and details of the site at which each was collected. Most of these specimens are housed at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania.

In the 1980's, the Pennsylvania Flora Project entered the computer age and its database now provides immediately accessible, up-to-the-minute information. The basic taxonomic file currently contains 3,390 records derived from herbarium specimens. Associated files include a gazetteer of 10,000 collection sites, with latitude and longitude coordinates; herbarium, synonym and bibliographic files; and more. The information which the new web site offers will prove useful to persons from other states in the region, since virtually all of Pennsylvania's plants occur in other areas.

The new on-line database is only one aspect of the Pennsylvania Flora Project. In 1993, a volume with "dot maps" showing plant locations was published. It is The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania: Annotated Checklist and Atlas, by Ann F. Rhoads and William McKinley Klein. Dr. Rhoads, head of the Botany Department at the Morris Arboretum, is the director of the Pennsylvania Flora Project. She and her team are currently preparing an illustrated field manual of the plants of the state which is expected to be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in the year 2000. The book is intended for a wide variety of users from students and amateur naturalists to professional botanists and resource managers. Information on the manual can be found at the new web site.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located in Chestnut Hill. Its hundred and seventy-five acres include an outstanding horticultural display garden of 92 acres open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Researchers who begin their work at the web site can contact the Morris Arboretum at (215) 247-5777 for more detailed reports.

-From a news release prepared by Kate Sullivan of the Morris Arboretum

'Celebrate Age' at an Expo

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, in conjunction with the Institute on Aging (IOA) and the Division of Geriatric Medicine, will sponsor booths at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's Celebrate Age Expo. The IOA's promotions will include influenza vaccinations, health screenings for osteoporosis and blood pressure, an on-line exhibition of the IOA's website, and hands-on horticultural therapy workshop. Trained geriatricians will be on-hand to address general health care concerns along with IOA staff members who will answer questions about related programs and services. Seniors, their families and caregivers are all encouraged to attend. The event will take place October 15 through 16, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Hall D, 12th and Arch Streets. Booths 560, 562 and 564 will house the IOA's programs. For more information about the Celebrate Age Expo please call 765-9000, ext. 5704 or visit the website

- Brian Choplick, Special Assistant, UPHS Institute on Aging


Health, Nature and Aging

The Institute of Aging at the University of Pennsylvania has established a very successful horticultural therapy program at Ralston House for both community-dwelling elders and residents of the adjacent long-term care facility, the Penn Center for Rehabilitation and Care (formerly New Ralston House). The Green Thumb Club offers five sessions per week serving a total of 40-50 elders. Winter activities (propagating plants from cuttings and seeds, craft projects, etc.) are conducted in the indoor Garden Room. In the spring and summer we center many of our activities in our outdoor garden which we are presently converting to a fully wheelchair accessible horticultural demonstration garden. Field trips to local gardens and demonstrations by master gardeners are a monthly event.

The benefits of horticultural therapy for long-term care residents have been well documented. Improved quality of life, better cognitive functioning, and new skill development, mood elevation, aesthetic stimulation, increased sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy, increased social interaction, stress and anxiety reduction, and even improving muscle tone and relieving pain: all of these important benefits have been linked by researchers to participating in horticultural therapy programs.

Volunteers are needed for many tasks such as watering, organizing materials, socializing with elders, wheeling over people from the Penn Center for Rehabilitation and Care, (a long-term care facility located adjacent to us), helping them with their project and clean-up, etc. Call 573-5789 for more information.

- Bev Agard, Horticultural Therapy Coordinator

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, October 7, 1997, Volume 44, Number 7