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Sara Oldfield - Secretary General
With a career in international plant conservation spanning over 30 years, Sara joined BGCI as Secretary General in May 2005. Previously she worked as Global Programmes Director for Fauna & Flora International. She has worked for a wide range of other conservation organisations, including UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and also as a freelance consultant for over ten years, working as a researcher and policy advisor for international biodiversity conservation.
Sara is also Chair of the IUCN/SSC Global Tree Specialist Group, responsible for promoting and implementing projects to identify and protect globally Red Listed tree species. She is an accomplished author, and has published a number of research papers and books, the most recent of which is 'Botanic Gardens: Modern Day Arks'.
Sara was awarded an Institutional Honorary Doctorate by the University of Ghent, Belgium in May 2013. The Doctorate was awarded in recognition of the work in international plant conservation undertaken by Sara.
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Suzanne Sharrock - Director of Global Programmes
Suzanne Sharrock is BGCI's Director of Global Programmes and manages BGCI's website and technical publications. Suzanne is also co-editor of BGCI's twice-yearly botanic garden journal (BGjournal). Suzanne works on policy issues connected with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and provides support to the European Botanic Gardens Consortium.
Before joining BGCI, Suzanne worked for the International Plant Genetics Resources Institute (now Bioversity International) and has also worked on plant genetic resource projects in Nepal, Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Caribbean
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Joachim Gratzfeld - Director of Regional Programmes
Joachim joined BGCI as Director of Regional Programmes in November 2006. In this capacity he manages BGCI’s programme development at regional and national levels, working with botanic gardens and affiliated organisations and partners in many parts of world, notably in China, South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Prior to joining BGCI, he was responsible for the implementation of numerous conservation projects and programmes, in particular capacity building in biodiversity conservation and dryland ecosystem management based at the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in Pakistan and Switzerland, the latter being his home country.
A trained field biologist and plant ecologist specialising in the interface between conservation and human development, Joachim has a keen interest in promoting botanic gardens as custodians of plant diversity through advancing their role in the integration of ex and in situ plant conservation efforts.
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Dr Asimina Vergou - Head of Education
Asimina is leading the coordination and evaluation of BGCI Education projects ranging from the development of education resources to Growing the Social Role of Botanic Gardens and teacher training in Inquiry-Based Science Education.
Asimina’s experience in botanic gardens education has been developed through running the Learning programme of the Balkan Botanic Garden Kroussia in Greece but also through her PhD research which focused on the collaboration of Wakehurst Place, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew with local schools. Asimina's personal interest lies in organisational change in botanic gardens, raising the profile of botanic gardens’ education and turning the public on to plants.
Martha Love - Head of Finance
Martha manages the financial reporting for the organisation. She prepares and maintains both statutory and management accounting information, as well as controlling bank accounts, payments, receipts and Payroll.
Meirion Jones - Head of Information Management
Meirion is our database expert. Meirion is your contact for queries on PlantSearch and GardenSearch databases.
Malin Rivers - Red List ManagerMalin has recently joined the BGCI team as Red List Manager. Malin has previously worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and undertook a PhD evaluating the success of undertaking conservation assessments based on specimen and genetic data. Malin will lead red listing at BGCI and will act as Secretary of the IUCN/SSC Global Tree Specialist Group.
Kirsty Shaw - Conservation Manager
Kirsty manages the project Enhancing tree conservation and forest restoration in Africa. Kirsty also works on the Global Trees Campaign - a joint initiative between BGCI and Fauna and Flora International to secure the future of the world's threatened tree species and their benefits for humans and the wider environment. Her current activities include Red Listing Betulaceae taxa, and undertaking global surveys of ex situ tree collections.
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Ellie Barham - International Plant Sentinel Network Coordinator
Ellie is based at the Food and Environmental Research Agency in York and is responsible for establishing and maintaining partners in the project to identify and and develop a system to link pest and pathogen diagnostics through the development of a database and information system.
Katherine O'Donnell - Global Seed Conservation Challenge CoordinatorKatherine coordinates the Global Seed Conservation Challenge – a joint partnership between BGCI and the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. This project will focus on engaging the botanic garden community to work towards Target 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation by conserving seed of threatened taxa not already in ex situ collections. Katherine previously worked at the Herbaria in Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Edinburgh and has also worked as a Research Assistant at the Millennium Seed Bank.
Liliana Derewnicka - Education Officer
Lili has been supporting our work on the Communities in Nature project and has been working on our social media. Lili also assists with the publication of the BGCI education journal Roots.
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Vivien Isaac - Accounts Officer
Vivien has been with BGCI since 1986 and has got to know our members very well over the years. She can answer your accounts queries and you can send your membership payments or donations to her!
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Liz Smith - Membership & Administration
Contact me for any information on BGCI membership including how to become a member and paying your subscriptions; I can also help you access our publications and with the advertising of your events and job or intern opportunities.
International BGCI Team
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Xiangying Wen - BGCI China Executive Director
Xiangying manages BGCI's projects in China.
Based at the South China Botanical Garden, CAS, Guangzhou-Guangdong province. The BGCI China Programme is working alongside China's botanic garden community to help implement the plan focusing on three major areas they are:
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Abby Hird - BGCI U.S. Program Director
Abby facilitates public garden plant conservation efforts by improving BGCI's data services and increasing awareness of the resources available to living botanical collections.
Prior to joining BGCI U.S., Abby completed the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware, and worked as a Putnam Research Fellow at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.
Abby's office is based at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. She also serves on the Board of the Magnolia Society International, recruits for the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC), and facilitates Earthwatch Expeditions.
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Dr. Igor A. Smirnov - Chairman, BGCI Russia
Nikita Mergelov - Assistant, BGCI Russia
Murphy Westwood - Global Tree Conservation Officer
Murphy is based at The Morton Arboretum in Chicago, U.S.A, where she works as a Tree Conservation Specialist. BGCI and The Morton Arboretum have recently signed an MOU for collaborative work on the Global Trees Campaign. In her new role as Global Tree Conservation Officer, Murphy will operate as a US-based representative for the Global Trees Campaign. The Morton Arboretum will take a leading role in undertaking Red List assessments of Oaks, updating and adding to the previous BGCI publication which assessed approximately half of the world's Oak species.
BGCI Interns and Volunteers
Simon has volunteered with BGCI for 6 years and assists with the publication of "Roots" the BGCI Education e-journal.
Neville is currently studying on the three year Diploma in Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Neville is particularly interested in the flora of the Caribbean and Central America and is working on developing links with BGCI members in this area.
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Luis Roberto Gonzalez Torres - Canada
Luis is from Cuba and currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is helping BGCI with the translation into Spanish of the Communities in Nature report and will be growing our network of botanic gardens and arboreta in Canada.
Garance Wood-Moulin - BGCI Intern
Garance has been an intern at BGCI since early 2014. She is currently helping develop interpretation materials for energy gardens.
Lisa Wheeler - Red List Intern
Lisa has been an intern at BGCI since August 2014, supporting Red Listing of Magnolia, Theaceae and timbers.
Alicia Fernandez-Rodriguez - Education Intern
Alicia has been an intern at BGCI since August 2014, supporting the BGCI Education team.
Emily Beech - Global Trees Campaign Intern
Emily has been an intern at BGCI since October 2014, supporting Red Listing, communications and fundraising for the Global Trees Campaign.
If you are interested in gaining valuable experience as a volunteer in the plant conservation sector please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your current CV and a brief description of your interests.
To contact a specific member of staff or intern by email, our address format is - First name, period, second name followed by @bgci.org