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BGCI Travel Scholarship Programme 2003

Background

As part of the HSBC Investing in Nature programme, BGCI travel scholarships are being offered to botanic garden staff from Mainland China and Hong Kong SAR in 2003-2006.

The travel scholarships are intended to support closer working relations and linkages between mainland China and Hong Kong SAR botanic gardens. It is envisaged that the placement of staff in botanic gardens outside of their region will promote the sharing of knowledge and lead to collaborative projects to further improve botanic gardens efforts to conserve plants in Mainland China and Hong Kong SAR.

BGCI Travel Scholarship Programme 2003 - Sharing from the Candidates

1. Native Plant Conservation

Training Location: Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Hong Kong SAR (KFBG)
Training Course Period: 24 Feb to 13 Mar 2004

(1) Scholarship candidate: Li Mei, Nanjing Botanical Garden, Mem Sun Yat-Sen

  • During the training course, I, and the other three candidates, had two unforgettable visits, to Mrs. Barretto's place, the founder of Orchid Programme of KFBG, and Professor Hu Xiu-ying, a world-famous botanist. We were deeply impressed and encouraged by their dedication and enthusiasm to plants.
  • We also visited the Hong Kong Flower Show 2004 at Victoria Park, during which two local newspapers gave us an interview on the training course and a comparison of Hong Kong and Mainland China. We enjoyed the Show very much for its rich varieties of beautiful flowers, delicate exhibition spots and wonderful design.
  • At the end of the course, I gave the presentation on behalf of our group with the topic of " Conservation and Other General Impression on HK.
  • I feel that plant conservation work in Hong Kong has been carried out extensively. Parties involved include governmental agencies, private sector, environmental conservation agencies, community and even schools. It is obvious that more and more people start to pay attention to environmental conservation.
  • I am enlightened by the attitude, concepts and ways to implement environmental conservation in Hong Kong. For example, I will learn more about how to increase people's awareness of plants and conservation and will try to make our education programme more relevant to people's lives.
Giving summary report at the end of the course Giving summary report at the end of the course

(2) Scholarship candidate: Xie Lei, Centre of Systematics and Evolutionary Botany. Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

  • The training course, in my opinion, was successful and fruitful to all participants. It was reasonably and efficiently arranged so that all four of us could get as much information as possible. We had lectures about KFBG and guided visits to country parks and museums. My interest was to learn more interesting plant species, some of which I have never seen in North China.
  • Apart from the knowledge given in lectures, I learned a lot about the way to conduct various tasks in our botanic garden. For example, KFBG staff do not use poisonous reagent or anything that may make only the least pollution.
  • All the programmes undertaken by each department of KFBG are interesting and beneficial to the community.
  • The way KFBG manages its specimens in their herbarium enlightened me much. Instead of using mothballs, essential oil was used to avoid harm to the nature and staff.
  • In my future research work, many concepts and ideas learned from this training course will be used. I will make sure our garden will pay more attention about possible negative effects of our research techniques on the organism concerned. We should ensure that, as researchers, we are not destroyers.
Giving a presentation Giving a presentation

(3) Scholarship candidate: Yang Bo, Wuhan Botanic Garden, Chinese Academy of Science

  • The most impressive point in this training course is that the Hong Kong SAR government and KFBG both coordinate very well with different government departments, the mass media, various organisations, the community, schools and even individuals in implementing their programmes.
  • Through the "Hong Kong Native Tree Planting Scheme", not only native trees are encouraged to be more extensively used, the public, including secondary and primary school students, also can learn more about the ecological benefits of native tree species.
  • Plenty of explanatory signs and brochures promoting native tree forests are useful in educating the public.
  • For native orchids coming from a certain region, artificially-propagated off-springs produced by KFBG are returned to the place of origin. During the whole tissue culture process, no enzyme or poison was used. In our botanic garden, however, we reply on the foundation of cell totipotency and the application and control of enzyme. In our future work, we will try by all means to apply KFBG's experience in our orchid collection and maintenance (including in vitro maintenance).
  • I will encourage our garden to convey environmental education to the public through various kinds of activities and exhibits.
Giving a presentation Giving a presentation

(4) Scholarship candidate: Zhu Huafang, Shanghai Botanical Garden

  • During the training course, KFBG arranged a wide range of activities for all the candidates. The topics and themes of these activities are extensive, ranging from plant conservation to commercial orchid use to organic farming. I was also happy to conduct tissue culture for orchids, dissect an orchid flower and plant native trees at KFBG.
  • Because of my background, I am interested in collecting information related to education. In my opinion, the Butterfly Garden and Agriculture Programme in KFBG, Ocean Park and Hong Kong Museum of History are all excellent models of education because of their tactics in arousing attention from the public.
  • In this training course, I learned the followings:
    (a) This training enlightened me that plant education should not be limited to plants itself. It could be extended to include plants used in our daily life.
    (b) All departments in KFBG participate in public education, which increases the scope and depth of attainment. In the post-training seminar, I introduced this concept to my colleagues.
    (c) Interpretive design should be simple, clear, attractive and in harmony with the surrounding environment.
    (d) It is essential to set up a Visitors' Center in our botanic garden, so that visitors can learn more about plants and attractions of our garden.
    (e) Designing and selling unique souvenirs about plant may also be helpful to attract the public to plants.
Butterfly Garden at KFBG - an impressive education  resource Butterfly Garden at KFBG - an impressive education resource

 

2. Education Programmes, Interpretation & Living Collections Management

Training Location: Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Hong Kong SAR ( HKZBG)
Training Course Period: 22 Feb to 6 Mar 2004

Scholarship candidate: Dai Xin-zhu, Changchun Zoological and Botanical Garden (CCZBG)

  • During the exchange, I worked mainly at HKZBG, though visits were also paid to public parks, education and resource centers, and the Hong Kong Flower Show 2004 at the Victoria Park.
  • The variety and quantity of seeds used in landscape design in Hong Kong are diversified. The arrangements of tree, shrub and grass are all unique. The planting design of HKZBG fully illustrates the functions of avoiding soil erosion, eliminating noise and bringing a wonderful view.
  • Hong Kong has more greening and education resources for education and live plant collections than mainland China. Plant specimens of the Hong Kong Herbarium came from almost all places in China. In most botanic gardens, display rooms and visits are offered so that all members from the community have access to understanding more about plant conservation.
  • On the provision of an ecological garden, both HKZBG and CCZBG implement faunal and floral conservation at the same time. When constructing animal cages, native habitats and living habits of the animals are catered for.
Plant placement inside animal cages at Hong Kong  Zoological and Botanical  Gardens Plant placement inside animal cages at Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
  • This exchange gives me a good reference and foundation for my future botanical research. I will bring the plant education I learned to Changchun and contribute in conveying plant conservation to more people and applying appropriate landscape management and ecological design at CCZBG.
Giving a presentation Giving a presentation

3. In-vitro Conservation Through Tissue Culture of Rare and Endangered Plants and Wild Ferns

Training Location: Beijing Botanical Garden, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academia Sciences, China (BBG)
Training Course Period: 8 Feb to 27 Feb 2004

(1) Scholarship candidate: Lee Tim Chun, Wicky, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, HKSAR

  • The major part of this training course is learning in the Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory. I conducted some tissue culture experiments for a few selected fern species. As it was my first time to carry out tissue culture experiment, most cultures were contaminated. Nevertheless, I am willing to practice more in future to obtain better results.
  • I also helped check some fern specimens in the herbarium for identification. Leo Liu ( i.e. another candidate) and myself paid a visit to "In-Vitro Plant Germplasm Collection" arranged by Dr. Shi Lei, the Director of the Collection.
  • With exchange of our working experience and knowledge, this training course provided a closer working relations and linkage between BBG and KFBG. I believe academic co-operation and exchange between the two gardens, such as spore exchange and other rare fern conservation programmes, can be developed in the coming future.
  • The techniques and skills of the spore propagation and in-vitro conservation of rare and endangered ferns through tissue culture method were acquired after this training. The training course enriched my knowledge and experience in fern conservation.
  • A new programme, "Tree Ferns & Rare Ferns Conservation in South China region (i.e. Hainan, Guangdong and Guangxi)" commenced in this year. Spores, live individuals or rhizomes of rare fern species found in South China will be collected for ex-situ propagation and conservation purposes. All the techniques learned in the training will be applied so that more effective protective measures on rare ferns in the region can be suggested and implemented.
Conservatory of Beijing Botanical Garden Conservatory of Beijing Botanical Garden
Conducting tissue culture in the laboratory Conducting tissue culture in the laboratory

(2) Liu Kwok Wai, Leo, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Hong Kong SAR (AFCD)

  • The main purpose of the programme was to acquire the basic technique of in vitro conservation of endangered plants through tissue culture. The Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory is a well-equipped one with very experienced scholars and technicians in tissue culture of rare fern species.
  • Though two species used in the tissue culture experiment are not endangered plants, I gained the practical experience of plant tissue culture in vitro for the first time. All steps were designed by myself with advice from the laboratory technicians.
  • The experiment result was satisfactory. There was minor contamination, which was a result of poor inoculation technique. The less contamination in the second experiment reflected better skills.
  • Although BBG originally assigned only two species for our experiment, Mr. Lo, a very experienced orchid tissue culture scholar agreed to be my supervisor on conducting tissue culture of Cymbidium tracyanum after a long and inspiring talk. The tissue in the experiment appeared to have cell division activities. Mr. Lo described it was a great success considering it was the first trial.
  • This training course not only provides a chance for people to learn new plant conservation techniques but also enhances mutual understanding, cultural exchange and long-term cooperation.
Presentation made in BBG to introduce endangered species  protection in HK Presentation made in BBG to introduce endangered species protection in HK
Presentation made in AFCD about the technique of tissue  culture of  endangered species Presentation made in AFCD about the technique of tissue culture of endangered species