• With the financial support of the Mohamed Bin Zayed Conservation Funds and the Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) we have just completed the last component of our project for a conservation action plan for the Critically Endangered cycad Zamia lucayana, a species restricted to Long Island (The Bahamas Archipelago). During July 26th - 29th, project participants from The Bahamas National Trust, MBC and FIU - Fairchild joined forces to develop several activities to increase conservation awareness for Zamia lucayana in the country. They included delivering three talks at the Headquarters of The Bahamas National Trust (Nassau) and the Community Center of Long Island [by Michael Calonje (from MBC), Tracy Magellan (from MBC), and our Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega].
Our outreach activities including delivering posters and post-cards among relevant agencies involved in nature conservation and the local schools of Long Island. We presented framed copies of the outreach poster to the Long Island Museum and also to The Bahamas National Trust.
Image on the right: Project participants present a poster on conservation awareness of Z. lucayana to the Director of the Long Island Museum (Patsy Cartwright), from left to right: Michael Calonje, Javier Francisco-Ortega, Patsy Cartwright, and Lindy Knowles (Bahamas National Trust). Image on the bottom left: The President of The Bahamas National Trust (Neil McKinney) (left) and the Minister of Environment of The Bahamas Government (The Honorable Earl Deveaux) (right) attending the seminars delivered at The Bahamas National Trust. Image on the bottom right: Outreach poster that was prepared for this project.
• This September, Fairchild’s Conservation Ecologist Dr. Joyce Maschinski will join the board of directors of Miami’s Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC). A long-time collaborator with Fairchild, IRC is well known for its cutting edge work on regional conservation issues, especially involving rare plants and ecological restoration. Joyce will join IRC’s board along with Patty Phares, a founding member and 30-year-volunteer with the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. Bringing both women onto the IRC board represents just the first phase of planned leadership expansion at the well-respected institution. “IRC has accomplished an incredible amount in its first 25 years,” states IRC President and Executive Director George Gann. “But we cannot rest on our laurels. Global change demands ever more action and IRC must evolve to meet this challenge. We need leaders to step forward at this critical juncture and we are both honored and grateful to have Patty and Joyce join us this fall.”
• At this year's Botanical Society of America - American Society of Plant Taxonomists conference (Botany 2011 at St. Louis Missouri, July 9 - 13), FIU assistant professor and FTBG conservation geneticist Dr. Eric von Wettberg, and FIU-FTBG graduate students Tonya Fotinos, Dr. Nora Oleas (recently graduated), and Emily Warcshefsky presented oral and poster presentations on genetic work to inform conservation on species from South Florida, Equador, and Tunisia. Abstracts of this work are available at: http://www.botanyconference.org/engine/search/index.php?func=AbstractTitle
• As one of the six elected members of the Council of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega attended the annual meeting of this Council. The event was part of the Botany 2011 meeting and took place on July 10 at St. Louis, Missouri. Attendance to this meeting was supported by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Image on the left show some of the meeting participants: Javier Francisco-Ortega, Dick Olmstead, Warren Wagner, Carolyn Ferguson, Ken Cameron, Linda Watson, Mark Fishbein, Kathleen Pryer, Christiane Anderson, Linda Brown, Tom Ranker, and Patrick Herendeen.
• Supported by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, on July 11 Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega visited the library and herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden to consult pre-Linnean works for the Canary Island flora and to obtain herbarium fragments of Acidoton (Euphorbiaceae) and Pilea (Urticaceae). This herbarium material will be used for anatomical and molecular studies relevant for our research on systematics of Caribbean Island endemics. This research is part of team studies being conducted by Dr. Jorge Gutierrez, Dr. Brett Jestrow, Mr. Francisco Jimenez, and Dr. James Valdes.