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African Botanic Gardens Network Bulletin 6

AFRICAN BOTANIC GARDENS NETWORK
BULLETIN NO. 6

November, 2002

Pre-Congress Interpretation Workshop – an invitation to network and grow.

John Roff

Many of us in African Botanical Gardens are involved in environmental interpretation – making meaning of our gardens for visitors, using such methods as guided walks, interpretive signs, brochures and other techniques.As part of the Congress a workshop on interpretation will be held on Sunday the 24th of November.

The workshop organisers would appreciate it very much if congress delegates who intend participating in the workshop could bring with them examples of interpretive materials and plant labels from their gardens.This will benefit all of us involved in interpretation, and form a basis for a networking session during the workshop.

We would also like to hear from all of you who are interested in forming an informal interpretation network for African Botanical Gardens – regardless of whether you are coming to the Congress or not.

People interested in forming such a network can e-mail John Roff at interpret@telkomsa.net


Ethnobotany Publication from the Kisantu Botanic Gardens, Congo

Paul Latham

As a result of the funding from NRInternational I have just received the initial document in French from Mr. Kibungu (director of the Kisantu botanical garden in R.D.Congo) of "Quelques Plantes Medicinales du Bas-Congo et leurs Usages".This gives detailed information of 47 of the most important plants. The book will run to about 180 pages as far as I can see. I will now start inserting photographs in the document and then hope to find a publisher.

Mr. Kibungu has also contributed a good deal of information to a series of booklets intended for farmers and development workers in Bas-Congo on edible caterpillars, indigenous vegetables, edible mushrooms and tree planting methods. These are currently with the printer and 1000 copies of each are being produced. The botanic gardens at Kisantu will hopefully be able to stock them for sale within the next few weeks.


IN MEMORIAM: Amadeus Mogale 1970–2002

Christopher Willis

Amadeus Oupa Mogale, Curator of the Free State National Botanical Garden, Bloemfontein, South Africa, died tragically in a car accident on 13 August 2002, on his way back from a plant collecting trip. At the age of 31, Amadeus was in the prime of his career. His passing is a great loss, not only to the National Botanical Institute, but also to botany and the botanical garden community in southern Africa.

Born in Kwa Thema, Springs (southeast of Johannesburg), on 1 November 1970, Amadeus or ‘Oupa’ (as he was affectionately known by many of his family, colleagues and friends) matriculated in 1989 from the St Franciscan Matric Project, Boksburg. The following year he registered for a National Diploma in Horticulture at the Peninsula Technikon in Bellville, Cape Town, successfully completing the diploma in 1993. Between 1991 and 1996 he was employed as a General Supervisor at the Ferndale Nurseries, Constantia, Cape Town.

In September 1996 Amadeus joined the National Botanical Institute (NBI) as a young horticulturist in the Free State National Botanical Garden. Two years later, after Rudi Britz (former Curator) was transferred to the Lowveld National Botanical Garden in Nelspruit, he successfully applied for the vacant position of Curator in the Free State Garden where he worked until his tragic death in August 2002.

Probably Amadeus’s greatest professional achievements were his contributions towards the development and completion of a Water-wise Demonstration Garden (officially opened in November 1998) and the Medicinal Demonstration Garden (officially opened in March 2001) showcasing the traditional medicinal plants of the Free State.

Amadeus participated in the Needs Assessment of the Lesotho botanical gardens in February 1999 and was committed to close collaboration with staff from the Katse Botanical Garden in central Lesotho. During his relatively short career within the NBI, he had the opportunity to proudly represent the NBI and South Africa at the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK in May 1998 and the ‘Gardens 2001 Congress’ held in Canberra, Australia, in April 2001. During the latter trip, he made many new acquaintances and friends during visits to several Australian botanical gardens.

Amadeus will always be remembered by those who knew him as a sincere, generous, positive and approachable person, full of life, humour, energy, enthusiasm and optimism.One of his greatest gifts was his ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. He also placed a high premium on the development and social wellbeing of his staff and put much effort into training and HIV/AIDS awareness programmes, amongst others. He was a talented leader and respected by his staff and colleagues. We shall miss him.

Amadeus is survived by his wife Refiloe and their two-year old son, Thagalo. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family and friends.

Christopher Willis,

Director of Garden and Horticultural Services,

August 2002


BGUI struggles to conserve 127 globally threatened trees species

Adeniyi A. Jayeola, Botanical Gardens, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
ajayeola@skannet.com

THE Botanical Gardens University of Ibadan (BGUI), the oldest botanical gardens in Nigeria, is currently facing the greatest challenge since its inception in 1948: battling hard against an all-time low funding; a ravaging fire swept through the gardens five years ago leaving the seeds store irretrievably damaged and several garden tools destroyed in the inferno; a devastating storm swept through the university estate in early October, 2000 inflicting untold damages on some of the oldest trees, office accommodation and plant houses.

BGUI is the only functional institutional botanical gardens in Nigeria, with a mandate not only to teach and conduct research into various aspects of plants in nature but also to ensure a sustained maintenance of diversity in indigenous flora of Nigeria, in line with global or regional agenda.

The difficulties mentioned above have not deterred the BGUI from looking forward, to rebuild its past and to also take on new challenges.

Funding appeal

In Nigeria, there are 935 tree species in 417 genera which are distributed in 86 families (Keay, 1989). Of this number, 127 species in 22 families are globally threatened (IUCN, 1998), representing 14%. These threatened plants happen to be among the species that have been serving man’s various needs for ages: as sources of medicine, local dyes, cosmetics, spices and culinary, symbol of time and history etc. There is an urgent need for the conservation of their germplasm for the continued benefit of this generation and also to ensure that future generations are not denied of the same opportunity.

BGUI has started, though with considerable difficulties, to recover some of these scattered threatened tree species from the wild for establishment ex situ on the over 40 acres of undeveloped land of the our garden over a 3-year period.

Already, we are over-whelmed by our needs for this important project: transportation, irrigation, storage facilities, lawnmowers and field tools. BGUI is concerned and wants to save this situation before our opportunity turns to liability.


A New Manager for Munda Wanga Trust Botanical Gardens, Zambia

Douglas Gibbs

The Munda Wanga Trust, an independent educational trust, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Botanical Manager. In 1999, The Munda Wanga Trust took over control of Zambia’s only Botanical Garden which was in a derelict state after years of under funding and insecurity. The outgoing Botanical Manager was brought in by Voluntary Services Overseas (a UK based charity) in 1999 to establish the redevelopment programme and to hand over to a Zambian Botanist. After generous support (British and Dutch Governments, Lasher Tools, and other Botanical Gardens in the region) much of the infrastructure is now in place and the Gardens are ready for the establishment of collections of Zambian plants and conservation programmes.

Benny Luwiika joins The Munda Wanga Trust from SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre Zambia. The Trust will benefit from Benny’s extensive experience of botany in Zambia, including botanical research in all the Zambian provinces, herbarium specimen collection and management, on-farm conservation and his work on the recently complied Red Data List for Zambia.

The appointment of a highly qualified and experienced Botanist forms an important component of the Trust’s work to the development of Botany and plant conservation in Zambia. The Trust would like to thank the European Union for funding and making possible the appointment of the new Botanical Manager.

For further details, please contact Munda Wanga Trust Botanical Gardens at gardens@zamnet.zm or P.O. Box 38267, Lusaka, Zambia.


Grassland Project and untimely death of Mr A.O. Mogale

Peter Gavhi
Free State National Botanical Garden

The Grassland Project took a lot of planning and input from Peter Gavhi, our Acting Curator.It was the brainchild of Amadeus Mogale our Curator who felt that our Garden needed to educate the public about the importance of grasslands and representing the different types of grasslands that occur. Unfortunately Mr A.O. Mogale died tragically in a motor vehicle accident on the 13 August 2002 on his return from a plant collecting trip, a day which our staff members will not forget. In his memory, and knowing that he is with us in spirit, Peter Gavhi will complete the Grassland Project in 1-2 years time.


African Botanic Gardens Bulletin

The African Botanic Garden Bulletin has a revolving editorship. This means that your garden can have the opportunity to produce the Bulletin should you be interested. Please contact BGCI at Descanso House, 199 Kew Road, Richmond Surrey TW9 3BW, UK Fax: 0044 020 8332 5956 Email: bgci@rbgkew.org.uk, or express your interest to the current Editor Mark Mattson: Durban Botanic Gardens, P.O. Box 3740, Durban 4000, South Africa Tel: +27 (031) 201 1303 Fax: +27 (031) 201 7382 Email: markm@prcsu.durban.gov.za

The Bulletin is published and distributed freely Botanic Gardens Conservation International. The Bulletin reaches 114 botanic gardens in Africa and is entirely dependent on the voluntary articles contributed by the staff from these institutions.