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A new National Botanical Garden for Haiti?

16 September 2011

An international workshop will be held in Haiti from 23-25 October  to assess the interests, resources and capacity of the Haitian government, NGOs and private partners to establish a National Botanic Garden.

Participants include representatives from the Haitian government, the private sector, NGOs and international experts.

Haiti is one of few countries in the world without a national botanical garden, despite the fact that the Haitian constitution (1987) states: Within the framework of protecting the environment and public education, the State has the obligation to proceed to establish and maintain botanical and zoological gardens at certain points in its territory.

Unfortunately, after 24 years, a Haitian National Botanic Garden has yet to be realized.

In 1993, the famous African-American dancer Katherine Dunhan decided to transform her Haitian property into a National Botanical Garden and asked Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, now President of Missouri Botanical Garden for his help. Dr. Wyse-Jackson subsequently travelled to Haiti and wrote a development plan for the proposed garden.  Sadly, the political and security situation in Haiti deteriorated so much that it became impossible for this work to continue.

Following the devastating 2010 earthquake and the on-going environmental and humanitarian crises in Haiti, the importance of having a botanical garden as a center for the conservation of plant resources, horticultural training and environmental education is more urgent than ever.

This two-day international workshop will represent a major step forward in efforts to establish this garden.  Key leaders and experts from Cornell Plantation, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, Colorado University, French Botanical Gardens, National Tropical Botanic Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Denver Botanical Garden, and Montreal Botanical Garden will be in Haiti to share experiences with Haitian leaders from the public and private sectors to explore the fundamental role of a National Botanical Garden for Haiti, and to support the realization of this dream.

Further details of the workshop are available here.



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