Unique herbarium to be resource to train future plant conservationists

Dr Colin Clubbe, Dr Sopie Williams, Plant Conservation Lecturer;  Prof Oliver Turnbull, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Teaching & Learning and Nigel Brown, Curator of Treborth Botanic Garden at the Launch event.Dr Colin Clubbe, Dr Sopie Williams, Plant Conservation Lecturer; Prof Oliver Turnbull, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Teaching & Learning and Nigel Brown, Curator of Treborth Botanic Garden at the Launch event.A unique ‘herbarium’: a reference library of plants, containing some samples collected as far back as to the 1700s, is one of the resources to be made available to students following a new plant conservation course at Bangor University.

The new MSc course aims to redress a shortage of experts needed to conserve our plant resources for the future. This is in response to a growing acknowledgement that a decline in training opportunities in botanical sciences over the last two decades has led to a shortage of scientists with plant conservation skills and knowledge.

As well as the herbarium, the University will make use of the Treborth Botanic Garden and Henfaes research station as resources to train the next generation of plant conservationists.  The University’s own renowned conservation and botany specialists at the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography will teach on the course,  and will be joined by leading experts from around the UK, including organisations such as the National Botanic Garden Wales, Plantlife International, Botanic Gardens Conservation International and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. An international element will be included through a newly formed partnership between the University and Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanic Garden in China.

To launch the new course, Dr Colin Clubbe of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew  gave a talk on Plant Conservation in the UK Overseas Territories.

Dr Sophie Williams shows Dr Colin Clubbe some of the samples from the herbarium, which is soon to be digitised.Dr Sophie Williams shows Dr Colin Clubbe some of the samples from the herbarium, which is soon to be digitised.Dr Clubbe said:

“This course will make a real impact globally in the world of plant conservation, and I’ve been inspired by the quality and energy of Bangor’s current students, who will be among those who can benefit from this excellent course.”

The Launch activities also included an opportunity to see the herbarium , which is about to be  digitised, so that it becomes more readily available for all and made available in Welsh & English

Publication date: 28 March 2014