The project team is working with a threatened, desert-adapted oak found in the western United States, known as shinnery oak (Q. havardii). This species is a very small tree or shrub that occurs in sand dune habitats. Shinnery oak habitat is threatened and shrinking and new seedlings are very rare. The team performed a conservation seed collection funded by the U.S. Forest Service and American Public Gardens Association.
In 2016, the team drove 2000 miles across the western United States to visit 36 populations and collect 1700 acorns, which were then distributed to 10 institutions across the country. These partner institutes will grow and display this species for the public and for use. Before this conservation collection trip, this threatened species was only present in one public garden. This work has therefore increased the number of the shinnery oaks in living collections and will lead to new scientific research projects and collaborations among scientists and conservationists. Some of these plants will be planted at The Morton Arboretum.