*Last entry is an hour before closing


*Last entry is an hour before closing

Kay Hankins

Seed Bank Conservation Botanist


M.S. in Biology, Sam Houston University

B.S. in Biology, Sam Houston University

Kay is a native Texan born and raised; and while she grew up in the suburbs of southwest Houston, she always possessed a keen sense of wonder about he natural world even in such an urban environment. So, when it came time to enroll in her undergraduate studies at Sam Houston State University, the decision to pursue her education in biology was an easy one. Still, it was not until she completed her first undergraduate course in botany that she fully realized her passion for plants. Since then, she has dabbled in molecular phylogenetics and systematics studying the interspecific hybridization between the federally endangered plant species, Baptisia arachnifera, and a closely related more common species, Baptisia lecontei, in southern Georgia; worked as a science education and outreach intern at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Ithaca, New York, developing hands-on interactive programming for diverse audiences centered on maize natural variation, plant-insect herbivore interactions, and plant secondary defense mechanisms; organic sustainable agriculture on the Big Island of Hawai’i; and conservation and ecosystem restoration making operational-scale seed collections of native plant species throughout the western United States including in southwestern Idaho, the Mojave Desert, and northern California. In 2023, Kay earned her Master’s of Science degree in biology at Sam Houston State University where she worked on a USDA grant funded project modeling the geographic distributions of high-risk molluscan agricultural crop pests here in the continental United States under both current and future projected climate change scenarios.

Since joining the team at BRIT and the Fort Worth Botanic Garden as a seed bank conservation botanist in 2024, Kay is excited to use her diverse academic and professional experiences to not only aid the organization in its mission to research, conserve, and protect Texas native plant biodiversity, but to communicate the importance of this work to landowners, the public, and the next generation of curious young scientists throughout the state as well.


Contact Details

Phone: (817) 332-4441 x274