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Wofford receives $200,000 grant for new greenhouse

New Greenhouse
2009-05-26

Facility to be used for educational research, other purposes

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College has received a $200,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to fund the construction of its new greenhouse, located behind the Roger Millken Science Center. Construction has been completed and the facility is being used for educational research.

The department of biology currently is using the greenhouse to complete a seed bank study begun in a botany class taught by Dr. Doug Rayner, professor of biology; that study will run through August.

In addition, students will grow plants of mouse-ear cress, Arabidopsis thalani, “the mouse/fruit fly of the botany world,” for use in a biology course to be taught in the fall. “We will grow ecotypes from around the world and we will use them in designing and conducting experiments with our Biology 150 students,” says Rayner, a botanist. Other experiments involving those students also will be run in the greenhouse.

Rayner says the college also will use the greenhouse in “developing collections of ‘unusual’ plants, and plants that represent the complete gamut of morphologies typical of the plant world. We expect to develop large collections of orchids and carnivorous plants – plants that have a large following among amateur botanists.”

A variety of plants also will be grown for use on campus, until all space is committed to research, Rayner adds. “We also will be growing plants to sell at plant sales, to help defray costs associated with the greenhouse.”

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Fla., provide financial assistance to certain educational, cultural, scientific and religious institutions. Since their founding, the foundations have been strongly committed to the support of private higher education in America, with a concentration on privately governed and supported four-year, residential liberal arts institutions that place strong emphasis on teaching and whose students choose majors primarily in the arts and sciences rather than career or vocational studies. For more information, go to www.avdf.org.