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About the Conservatory

Flower at the CBS Conservatory

The College of Biological Sciences Conservatory is a biodiverse collection of plant species from around the world. We service the needs of classes, researchers, and the surrounding community through making both our plants and expertise available. The collection is the most diverse in the upper Midwestern United States, containing over 1,600 species of plants. We care for everything from rare and endangered plants, to invasive species, to plants that show developing economic potential. The material from this diverse living collection is leveraged for the maximum benefit for our students, scientists, and the public at large.


The CBS Conservatory mission is designed to mirror the three domains of teaching, research, and public outreach, and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration by providing:

  • a diverse living reference collection, and a living laboratory for student learning that serves to link multiple disciplines,
  • botanical expertise and growth facilities to support world-class scholarship and research,
  • collaborative opportunities for fostering the depth and breadth of research capabilities that enhance quality education at the University, and
  • displays for academic demonstration and public education about plant science conservation and its role in everyday life.

The Conservatory is a resource that advances solutions to grand challenges in ecosystem and human health by providing plant-based research and educational experiences. The Conservatory serves to promote awareness of the value of biodiversity through sharing information and knowledge with different audiences in an effort to promote stewardship of our floral environment and to improve the quality of people‚Äôs lives.

The aims of the conservatory are to:

  • address specific teaching needs, and to provide plant materials for courses and labs,
  • design and deliver essential and diverse plant materials, knowledge, and opportunities for student research that serve courses across colleges,
  • engage in broad plant biodiversity research and conservation efforts to inform an understanding of the evolution and ecology of plants,
  •  partner with faculty to design displays that showcase their research and to improve the quality of inquiry-based learning opportunities for students,
  • partner with university staff and community members to design educational exhibits which promote awareness and conservation of floral diversity,
  • maximize outreach opportunities and partnerships by providing tours and collections of plants pertinent to the community.