Message from Ingrid

With flower wreath made by the Beringian Botanists in Alaska.

Dear Botany alumni and friends,

It is with immense excitement that I share my big news with you all. I have decided to move to another university to pursue my research goals in studying alpine plant population genetics and create my own botany program within a smaller biology department. This fall, I will begin my first term as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, in the Department of Biology. I will be teaching General Botany, Systematic Botany, Field Botany, and Flora of Kentucky. I will also be the curator of the small Murray State Herbarium, which holds about 40k specimens of the Mississippi Embayment area.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me here as the Director of the Botany Garden and Greenhouse during my short 6.5 years. Being in this position has helped me grow as a leader and teacher. It has been such an eye-opening experience for me to see how such an operation runs in order to maintain the living collection and support the impressive botanical teaching that the Department of Botany has pioneered and continues to lead.

All of you who have come to visit the greenhouses and the garden and met with me or sent your colleagues or students to visit our space have all helped keep our collection alive and well. I appreciate all the tours and visits by the groups of current and past students, local school children, and regional students from all over the area. The tours around the greenhouse are really my favorite thing to do in this position! The questions from the young and old students of plants have invigorated me and have helped us improve our outreach capacity. Please come and visit the new Crevice Garden in the Botany Garden when you make your next trip to Madison. It has been one of my new passions here in Madison, along with the ever-loving connection I have with the koi and water lilies.

Planting the Crevice Garden.

Please continue to support the Botany Garden and Greenhouse by talking about us to your friends and family, visiting us year-round, and giving to our gift fund which we use to support our student workers, materials, and programs.

There are many ways we all contribute to the education and promotion of botany, and currently I am being called to expand and create my own program in a small school that is hungry for a botanist who loves to teach, grow plants, teach lab techniques, and go into the field. The Department of Botany has taught me how to teach botany and I will carry on the legacy learned in my new space with a new community.

In the Botany Garden.

While here at UW Madison in the Department of Botany, I have been able to teach Botany 100 (for non-majors) five springs and have really enjoyed being able to reach students who never even knew what botany was or why they should care. In closing, I am going to share with you a few quotes from my students’ final essays this spring that will hopefully leave you with the same warm glow it does for me. I do hope our paths cross again in the future and thank you for helping make my experience in Madison a wonderful one!

Best wishes,

Ingrid Jordon-Thaden




“One aspect I love sharing with other students on campus is the Greenhouse at Birge Hall. It is one of my favorite places to destress, especially during the winter. I brought many friends who had never heard of it, and it was their first time in a greenhouse. It was great because I was able to teach what I learned in class and pass that knowledge on to my friends.” – Botany 100 Student

Enjoying the orchids!

“I also loved learning about angiosperms, as I have always been interested in them and what makes them all so uniquely different. I had always known flowers were under this category, but I had never realized the range was so large, going from the desert to under water and even more. The greenhouse amplified my interest and desire to learn more about this range even more. The visits in lab to the greenhouse impacted me heavily. The diversity of plants is so large and vast, seeing it in person makes it feel so different from viewing online or through textbooks. I found myself getting lost in there once my projects were over, I took in each room like I was visiting a different country (which is one of my biggest interests as a linguistics major). I even found myself taking my friends to visit the greenhouse in our free time.” – Botany 100 Student

“But beyond the practical knowledge, this course has sparked a newfound curiosity in me. I find myself noticing plants everywhere I go, marveling at their diversity and beauty. It’s like seeing the world through a new lens, where every leaf and flower holds a story waiting to be told.” – Botany 100 Student