October 8, 1996
Volume 43 Number 7


News in Brief: Safety Awareness Steps
African American Studies: Dr. Beavers
Transition in Affirmative Action
Food Study Team
HONORS & Other Things
EDUCOM 'Hot Topics' & A Computing Stamp
SEC Actions 10/2/96
From the Chairs: A Safety Review

Council: October 9 Agenda
Council: Report of Research Committee
Staff Appreciation Day
Speaking Out: Challenging Crime
Speaking Out: 'Beyond Belief'
Speaking Out: SCUE on Six Priorities
Speaking Out: Outsourcing
Fall Break 1996: Safety Checks

COMPASS Features

Delco Vanpool Looking for Riders
HIV Testing on Campus
Update and Calendar Deadlines
Healing Plants: The Morris Arboretum Looks Across Time and Cultures

Watching Medicines Grow

This weekend at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, six years of hard work come to fruition as the massive outdoor exhibition, Healing Plants: Medicine Across Time and Cultures, opens officially on Saturday.

The opening is a one-day festival (below), but the exhibition itself is a long-range display that will be there for five years or more.

And, though the 92-acre Arboretum is one of the beauty spots of the region, with its winding paths and planted vistas enlivened by unexpected sculpture gardens, the exhibition is more than beautiful. It acts as a living textbook for many disciplines as it draws attention to the herbs, flowers and even weeds that play a role in healing throughout the worldeither as healers themselves, or as the basis of a major part of the pharmaceutical industry. The exhibition also focuses on the worldwide cultures where plants' medicinal qualities have been discovered, developed, and how they were transmitted across borders and oceans.

Over three-fourths of the world's population depends for medication on the plants in their own back yard, according to Morris Arboretum Director Paul Meyer. And about 40% of all prescription drugs are derived from natural sources or synthesized from chemical blueprints drawn from nature. Shown here: what is believed to be the oldest of all the healing plants: the ginkgo tree, found "good for the heart and lungs" by Chinese herbals as early as 2800 B.C. Sold in the U.S. only as a dietary supplement, it is the largest-selling botanical preparation in Germany and France today. The Arboretum traces its development around the world and its history in the U.S. from Colonial times, when the Historic Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia planted one in the 1780s.

Multicultural Healing Plants Festival

To mark the opening of its biggest-ever outdoor exhibition, Healing Plants: Medicine Across Time and Cultures, the Morris Arboretum of the University invites one and all to a Healing Plants Festival on Saturday, October 12, from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission will be free all day. Cosponsors of the Festival are two international pharmaceutical companies, Merck and WyethAyerst Laboratories. The Festival is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The rain date is October 13.

Both festival and exhibition focus on the importance that plants have played in healing traditions of many lands, and how information has been passed between various cultures and from generation to generation.

The Healing Plants Festival will be a daylong celebration, with music and dance, herbal demonstrations, storytelling, vendors, and activities for the whole family. Mainstage performances begin at noon, and include music and dance from Native American, West African, and Chinese traditions. Demonstrations and activities throughout the garden include a children's herbal discovery tour, colonial herbal remedies, rice-paper painting, basketmaking, accupressure, Tai Chi, Japanese koto playing, Native American and African American storytelling, and herbal wisdom and lore from a variety of traditions. Food and drink will be available in the vendor area.

Between activities and performances, visitors can explore the Arboretum, and the six areas of the garden that have become the exhibition's minigalleries. Here, large panels tell the story of the plants that 75% of the world's people still rely upon as their primary medicine. More than 1,800 new plants have been added to the Arboretum's garden as part of the exhibition.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, with its renowned 92-acre public garden, is located in the Chestnut Hill area

of Philadelphia at 100 Northwestern Avenue, between Stenton and Germantown Avenues. Plenty of free parking will be available.

A special healing plants tour has been developed for the thousands of school children who visit the Arboretum each year. A traveling "Medicine Trunk" curriculum is being developed; it will be used in local classrooms in conjunction with visits to the Arboretum.

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