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New Plant Science Center Opens at Chicago Botanic Garden

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The Chicago Botanic Garden opens its new plant conservation labs to the public today. Visitors can see how science is helping save native habitats across the Midwest.

Kay Havens, a Chicago Botanic Garden scientist, insists researchers will get used to being watched while they work.

HAVENS: As you can see, there are no secrets here.

Visitors can peer through giant windows to watch the researchers in each of the nine new labs. In the back of one is the seed bank. There, Havens and her staff plan to store the seeds of the entire native flora of the Midwest.

She says the impact of humans on the environment is forcing scientists to take on these kinds of ambitious projects.

HAVENS: The native habitats, even if they are protected legally, continue to be impacted by invasive species, by climate change, by pollution.

Havens says it’s worth giving up a little privacy to help people understand how science is trying to save the plants.

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