Close up of a woman's face on the beach

Human Elements

The world of science is full of facts and figures, but behind the study are the people. In the end, it becomes a question not of how they do science — but why.

The seed vault holding Washington’s rarest plants

The UW conservation RareCare program contains kernels to identify, conserve and help 150 endangered species survive.

The Miller Seed Vault contains one million seeds from over 150 rare plant species in Washington. But the survival of many of these species is in jeopardy as a result of habitat loss, industrialization, invasive species and climate change. Rare Care Program Manager Wendy Gibble and a team of biologists, students and citizen scientists from the University of Washington conservation program hope to identify and conserve Washington’s rarest plants and help them survive.

One of those endangered plants is the Wenatchee Mountains checkermallow, which exists only in Leavenworth. The flower is dependent on late-spring snowpack, which has dwindled year over year due to climate change. So the team is examining new sites 1000 feet higher in elevation to plant seeds and help future populations thrive.

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