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Articles by Contributing Writer Brianna Baker

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This story is part of Fix’s Mentorship Issue exploring the unique ways climate leaders found their calling, and how new approaches to mentorship are upending old power structures. Check out the full issue here.

Growing up, Beronda Montgomery shared a home with countless plants. Her mom loved gardening and would thrill at the emergence of a new leaf or the first hint of flowering. But Montgomery found her viney, green housemates boring. They couldn’t play or talk. What was the point of them, she wondered.

That changed when she took a plant physiology class in college, part of her plan to become a biological patent lawyer. The “magic” of all things flora — specifically their ability to thrive in unfavorable conditions — soon enthralled her. “It takes cleverness,” she says. “Many of us have seen a plant bend toward a window in our home, or if they lose a limb, other limbs emerge. They’re able to reorient themselves. Humans just pick up and move.” 

Today Montgomery is a plant biologist, teaching and leading a lab at Michigan State University that explores how photosynthetic organisms respond to changes in their environment... Read more

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