Fairchild Hosts the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Joint Symposium

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Coral Gables, FL, February 14, 2007-Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) is honored to host the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in a collaborative symposium on Tuesday, February 27, 2007. In recent years the two institutions have developed an increasingly collaborative research agenda that focuses on palm biology and conservation. "I am delighted to host the board and staff of NTBG here at Fairchild and I am confident that this meeting will promote further collaborative projects," says Mike Maunder, Executive Director at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Fairchild cultivates the largest and most diverse palm collection in cultivation and maintains an extensive palm herbarium, carpological collection and an expanding palm and cycad DNA library. No one location can hold all the palm species of the world and Fairchild is delighted to work with NTBG, which has a strong focus on palms in the Pacific region. "The collections at Fairchild and NTBG‘s gardens are exceptional," observed Chipper Wichman, NTBG‘s CEO and Director. "They are living laboratories where scientists can better understand the evolution, structure, relationships, and qualities of these species."

Currently FTBG and NTBG are working together on a National Science Foundation funded project to review the anatomy of the palm family. This work is based at the laboratory of Fairchild‘s Senior Research Botanist, Dr. Jack Fisher, with the collaboration of NTBG researcher and professor of Tropical Botany, and FTBG research associate professor Barry Tomlinson. During the symposium, Dr. Fisher will be talking on Understanding Palm Anatomy: A tool for the conservation of these valuable species. Fairchild has a joint molecular DNA facility with Florida International University and has invested significant research into the evolution of island palm lineages. We are delighted to be working with Christine Bacon McBryde, Graduate Student Fellow at NTBG, who will present a talk entitled Pritchardia: Insights into biogeography and adaptive evolution.

About National Tropical Botanical Garden
The National Tropical Botanical Garden encompasses over 1,800 acres in gardens and preserves, in Hawaii and in Florida. The varied ecosystems and environmental conditions of these properties permit the cultivation and preservation of a broad range of tropical plants. Scientific research is fundamental to the mission of NTBG and its conservation, education and horticulture programs. Its considerable living collections and extensive herbarium and research library provide outstanding resources for study in tropical plant systematics (classification and naming of organisms), as well as floristics (study of the plants of a geographically or politically defined region). The only tropical botanical garden chartered by Congress, NTBG is a not-for-profit institution. For more information, visit www.ntbg.org.

About Fairchild
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. It is one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world and a recognized international leader in both Florida and international conservation. Currently Fairchild has field programs in over 20 countries including support to protected areas in Madagascar and botanic garden development and renovation projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean and Middle East. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden houses the National Palm Collection as recognized by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), has the world‘s greatest living collection of palms and cycads; an education program reaching more than 26,000 school children per year; hosts popular events like the International Mango and Orchid Festivals, the Ramble, concerts, affiliated plant society shows and sales and more; and, is a not-for-profit organization relying on the support of its 36,000 members and benefactors. We host major art events such as Chihuly at Fairchild in 2005 and 2006. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables (Miami), Florida 33156. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for Children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. For more information, please visit www.fairchildgarden.org.

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