Thoughts from the President

June 9, 2023 - Towards a More Inclusive Scientific Retreat

Dear Danforth Center Community,

This message is being written while listening to fantastic presentations from Danforth Center scientists at the annual Scientific Retreat. I’m struck by how much this event has changed since the first one I attended in 2011. The Scientific Retreat today is attended by over twice as many community members compared to 12 years ago. The quality and scope of oral and poster presentations have grown dramatically over the years. The style of oral presentations have changed, now emphasizing shorter, snappier talks that are more accessible to the broad audience. We now have ASL interpreters for our deaf community members. And the location is different. Rather than an offsite retreat at Pere Marquette or Trout Lodge, this year we are using facilities at the Missouri Botanical Gardens and Danforth Center on consecutive days.

The post-pandemic decision to stay close to home rather than travel to an overnight location was not due to the sometimes-too-rustic facilities, the cafeteria cuisine, or the hungry ticks in Potosi. Instead, staying in town was intended to make the Retreat more inclusive and accessible to as many as possible. This includes parents and caregivers with limited travel capacity, and those who need to be onsite for their jobs. The recently constructed conference facilities at the Botanical Gardens offer an interesting new venue for a more inclusive offsite portion of the Retreat.

We’ve put a lot of thought into making the annual Scientific Retreat more respectful, safe and welcoming to our diverse community. How can we make it better? Pre-pandemic, the overnight retreat featured evening social activities, like karaoke. Turns out that for some, the life they love is making music with their friends. What can we do in the future that is fun, inclusive and promoting of a more cohesive community? The retreat organizers (Armando Bravo, Meter Nusinow, Kerri Gilbert) will welcome feedback.

Finally, many thanks to all those who make the Scientific Retreat successful, including the speakers, poster presenters, organizers, attendees, and administrative, AV, catering and facilities teams. Now, I need to get back to the talks.

Jim Carrington,
President and Chief Executive Officer

Previous Weekly Messages from Jim Carrington

Danforth Center Response Plan

The Danforth Plant Science Center recognizes the potential of exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our building and the impact it could have on our people and the Center. Accordingly, we have a plan in place in the event of a positive test for COVID-19 of an individual who was present in our Building(s).

Danforth Center Updates

During this unique moment in history, the first priority of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is the health and safety of our Center community, our families, and those who work with us.