Marsh Christian Awards 2018

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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.

On Friday September 14th, the winners of the Marsh awards for international plant conservation and education in botanic gardens 2018 were announced at BGCI’s 10th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens in Warsaw Poland.

Christian Torres-Santana from Arboreto Parque Doña Inés was awarded the Marsh Award for International Plant Conservation 2018. He was nominated by Marcos Caraballo for his work in conserving the flora of Puerto Rico. Marcos says:

“I met Christian Torres-Santana over ten years ago and he has always been an enthusiastic person with firm convictions regarding the conservation of the native flora. He is also a believer in teamwork, and has collaborated with multiple agencies and institutions to promote and implement conservation programs for endangered plants. For example, while Christian was working with the USDA Forest Service-IITF, he collaborated with the Department of Botany of the National Museum of Natural History in Smithsonian Institute, the New York Botanical Garden, and three UPR herbaria to validate a streamlined methodology for an island-wide assessment of angiosperms for Puerto Rico. Later, in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Herbarium of the UPR Mayagüez, and the Puerto Rican Conservation Foundation, he organized the 1st Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands Plant Conservation Workshop and IUCN Red Listing training in 2012. His collaborations have also resulted in over 10 scientific publications on plants focusing on conservation and invasive species, including plant pests. Christian has been actively attending national and international conferences and meetings on botanic gardens, and has offered 35 invited lectures at different venues throughout the World. His ability to communicate with others and charismatic personality has attracted the attention of the general public, resulting in an increase of visits to the arboretum from 3,000 to over 15,000 persons per year. These visitors, especially children and school teachers, have participated in many educational programs offered at the arboretum highlighting the importance of plants and pollinators in nature, and the need to conserve interactions to enhance ecosystems services.”

Clemmie Borgstein from the Kawasan Wisata Pendidikan Lingkungan Hidup (KWPLH) environmental education centre was awarded the Marsh Award for Education in Botanic Gardens 2018. She was nominated by Gabriella Fredriksson for her work in planning and constructing an ethnobotanical garden based on medicinal plant use in East Kalimantan, Borneo. Gabriella says:

“New to both the country and culture, Clemmie’s skills swiftly enabled the development of an engaged dialogue with her local colleagues. Her integration was facilitated by her motivation shown in learning both the language of the people and of the forest. These then provided a way in to the fertile ground of both the cultural and physical environment. Clemmie’s openness and dedication allowed an organic unfolding of the process between the people and their knowledge of the plants, which took root and flowered into a rich engagement. She very quickly realized the necessity of not only plant conservation but also environmental education in Borneo, and conceptualized the garden as a means for engaging locals and raising awareness about the destruction and exploitation of Borneo’s natural resources.”

The Marsh Awardees receive a certificate of recognition and a prize of £1,000. BGCI would like to congratulate both winners of this prestigious award.