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Jorge A. Santiago-Blay
Resident Research Associate
blayj@si.edu
Department of Paleobiology
National Museum of Natural History / Smithsonian Institution
Marketing Mostly Intangible Goods: The Case of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta 

This case study illustrates some of the common social and economic problems facing botanical gardens and arboreta today. The case describes a conversation between Angie and Suzie, two long-time staff members at an unnamed botanical garden. The women are discussing the economic difficulties the garden is experiencing. Like so many others, this botanical garden has been losing funds. Students read the case and in small groups discuss the value of botanical gardens and arboreta as well as their mission and operation. They then prepare an oral presentation as well as a written outline of a grant proposal seeking economic support for a botanical garden or arboretum of their choosing. This case study can be adapted to accommodate students with diverse background knowledge in biology, ranging from juniors and seniors taking environmental science or conservation biology courses, to freshmen or sophomores (science or non-science majors) enrolled in introductory biology courses, particularly those that include units on botany, biodiversity, and/or ecology.