Science Café

August 31

IPEP - International Plant Exploration Program

The temperate mountains of Southeast Asia lie at the borders of China, Vietnam, and India, forming the foothills of the Himalayas. They are rugged and remote and, as a result, they are the home to many undescribed plant species, dozens of which are discovered every year. Sixteen years of collection and conservation work by Scott McMahan and his team in this region has led to the creation of the Atlanta Botanical Garden's new International Plant Exploration Program. Please join us at Cocktails in the Garden for the third Science Cafe of the season as Scott shares photos and stories from his exciting - and at times harrowing - adventures exploring this botanically fascinating part of the world. Scott's tales will help even the most seasoned gardener appreciate the effort it takes to get plants from the jungle to our garden here.

Speaker and Biography
Scott McMahan, Manager of International Plant Exploration, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Gainesville

Scott was born and raised in Decatur, GA. He has a Bachelor's degree in English from Wofford College (Spartanburg, SC) and an Associate's Degree in Horticulture from Spartanburg Technical College. Scott was the propagator for a large wholesale grower for five years as well as the nursery manager at the Atlanta Botanical Garden for several years before opening his first nursery.
In 2003, Scott left ABG to open a nursery business in North GA called McMahan’s Nursery. In the fall of 2009, Scott opened another retail nursery called GardenHood in downtown Atlanta. Between 2009 and 2016, GardenHood won multiple local awards including the “Best of the Big A” in the AJC and Creative Loafing’s “Best Garden Shop.”
In early 2016, Scott sold much of his ownership in Garden*Hood and closed McMahan’s Nursery to accept a full-time position as the Manager of International Plant Exploration at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. With this new position, Scott oversees plant collection and evaluation at ABG as well as the creation of a visiting scholar program to promote the exchange of knowledge and plants with other botanical institutions around the world. Since 2001, Scott has taken nearly 20 overseas scouting and collecting trips for ABG to China, Vietnam, India, Taiwan, Bhutan and Mexico.
Scott lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife Kristie and two daughters, Lily (11) and Olivia (6).

September 28

Atlanta Botanical Garden's Edible Garden design, programming, and food production

Speaker and Biography
Raleight Saperstein, Senior Horticulturist, Atlanta Botanical Garden

Raleigh graduated from the University of Georgia with a BS in Dietetics and a Masters in Horticulture. During her study there, she performed research on the total phenolic contents in collard greens. After graduating, she developed a schoolyard garden in three Clayton County schools. She integrated the
produce into the cafeteria system and into classroom curriculum. Raleigh began work at Atlanta Botanical Garden in 2016 as Senior Horticulturist, and she manages a team of 4 assistants and several volunteers in the Edible Garden, Perennial Gardens, and areas surrounding the Great Lawn. She works closely with Longleaf Restaurant, Education Department, and Atlanta Community Food Bank to integrate produce into programming.