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Marsh Awards 2017 awarded to Amy Padolf and Kunle Olasupo

17 July 2017

The Marsh Awards are awarded annually by the Marsh Christian Trust, in partnership with BGCI, in recognition of excellence in International Plant Conservation and Botanic Garden Education.  The awards for 2017 were announced at the 6th Global Botanic Gardens Congress in Geneva, Switzerland on June 30th.

The Marsh Award 2017 for contributions to Botanic Gardens Education was awarded to Amy Padolf

                                      Amy is the Director of Education at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, FL where she oversees national and international multidisciplinary environmental science education programs for pre-kindergarten through post graduate studies as well as teacher professional development, adult education and community gardening. She holds a BA in Rhetoric from the University of Pittsburgh and a MS in Science Education from Duquesne University.  Amy is at the centre of a number of notable projects including:

Growing Beyond Earth  is part of The Fairchild Challenge, an award-winning environmental science competition based in Miami. The project will help expand ongoing NASA research into a citizen science program for students that includes experimental design, data collection and analysis, and a special emphasis on scientific communication.

Fairchild’s Million Orchid Project aims to re-establish rare and endangered native orchids throughout public spaces in South Florida, including school campuses. Scientists and volunteers at Fairchild have joined with the community in the pursuit of generating a limitless supply of native orchids using micropropagation techniques.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden on Friday unveiled its state-of-the-art STEMLab, a mobile tissue laboratory created in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

For the first time in the United States, high school students can focus their studies on botany at the new BioTECH @ Richmond Heights High School. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has teamed up with Miami Dade County Public Schools and Zoo Miami to offer a conservation biology education initiative that allows students to do on-site, hands-on research outside of the classroom, including contributing to the Million Orchid Project native orchid reinstallation.



The Marsh Award for International Plant Conservation was awarded to Kunle (Olukunle) Olasupo


 Kunle (Olukunle) Olasupo is a Field Supervisor at the Forest Unit at the headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria. Kunle obtained a National Diploma in Forestry at the Federal College of Forestry (FCF), Ibadan, in 2003, a Higher National Diploma in Agronomy at the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure (FECA) in 2006 and, during his employment, a Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry and Wood Technology, also at FECA, in 2012.

 Kunle’s interest in trees dates from his placement through the Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) in 2004 at the Centre for Environment, Renewable Natural Resources Management, Research and Development (CENRAD). His commitment to tree conservation developed during the first project carried out by the Forest Unit, funded by the Leventis Foundation 2010-2014, which set up a nursery, developed an Ethnobotanical Garden, and raised awareness about deforestation and the rapid decline of many tree species in Nigeria. Forestry became a passion for Kunle through two further projects: Tree Heritage Park and Schools Forest (2014-2017) funded by the Leventis Foundation; and Prioritising and protecting Nigeria’s most threatened trees, started in 2015 and led by BGCI with funding from the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, and continued through 2017 with support from the Australian Development Aid Program and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Fund.

Kunle’s interest and expertise in collecting fruits and extracting and sowing seeds is outstanding, as evidenced by the Forest Unit’s successful propagation of 137 indigenous tree species of which 28 are listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List, including the critically endangered endemic Cola nigerica. His skills and commitment have been crucial in the development of Nigeria’s first arboretum for ex situ conservation of threatened trees, and in guidance and capacity building for staff, conservation partners, teachers, students and postgraduates. Kunle never misses an opportunity to explain the importance of trees to visitors. Whatever someone has in mind when visiting the nursery or enquiring about trees, they are always persuaded to plant Nigeria’s trees for Nigerian people!

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