May 6, 2020
Plant Adoption Day was born in the summer leading up to Fall 2018. This event aimed at getting UW Madison students interacting with and taking care of plants. The goal was to help give students worthwhile experiences with plants, to foster greater appreciation for and the creation of a new generation of plant parents. In its first year, Allen Centennial Garden gave away 1,200 plants to UW students, proving to be a viral success. The line stretched around the block, and people were eager to get their hands on their new baby!
Plant Adoption Day Fall 2019 was back with a vengeance, eager to be bigger, more informative and better than ever before. Growing from lessons from the previous year, Plant Adoption Day 2019 brought about collaboration with other campus green organizations in order to broaden our reach and make this event more informative. These pop-up style booths included representatives from the GreenHouse Learning Community, the Wisconsin Energy Institute, The Wisconsin Horticulture Society, REthink Wisconsin, The Open Seat and folks from the Master Gardeners program. These awesome organizations brought different environmental and sustainable topics to flesh out the event beyond just plant ownership, but to sustainability more broadly.
Plant Adoption Day 2019 also brought about more variety in the plants given away, as well as a higher number of plants. One of our main goals in curating the plant selection for the event was making sure we had a variety of plants that were all hearty and ran a large spectrum of different light needs. We aimed to make sure every new plant parent has the best experience with their plant care journey, and this starts with making informed decisions when they choose their plant. We made sure to let all attendees know about the different light needs and provide care instructions (as well had the wonderful Master Gardeners onsite to answer any more in depth plant care questions. The event grew from the previous year and achieved even more attendance. For the second annual Plant Adoption Day, Allen Centennial Garden grew 2,100 plants and ended up giving around 1,900 to away to students. The line ran even further around the block, and the event garnered over 3,000 “interested” marks on the Facebook event.
The second annual Plant Adoption Day’s main goal was to evolve from the 2018 event, but continue adapting to the communities needs, following Of/By/For All practices by putting student interns in charge of planning and creating their own event that reflects the programming that they would like to attend. Plant Adoption Day aspires to get UW Madison students involved with plants and thinking about the value of nature and green spaces.
by Sam Wood | Former Plant Parent Intern