International visit from Guyana

03 June 2013

Date posted: 03 June 2013

The Botanic Gardens of Adelaide is continuing to develop its international relationships, with Hon. Robert M Persaud, Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment in Guyana visiting Adelaide on Wednesday 29 May.

The Protected Areas Commission Guyana has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and an updated MOU was signed during this visit, reconfirming this enduring international partnership and reflecting the spirit of the international Convention on Biological Diversity. The MOU was signed by Hon Ian Hunter, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, and Hon. Robert M Persaud.

"Botanic gardens around the world are responsible for informing their communities about the value of plants, their conservation and their importance for a sustainable future. It is through partnerships like these that we can share experiences and knowledge to begin to achieve these goals on a global level” says Mr Stephen Forbes, Director, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide.

Following a tour of Adelaide Botanic Garden in the morning, Damian Fernandes, Commissioner for the Protected Areas Commission, addressed a select number of guests to discuss biodiversity conservation in Guyana and the role of the Georgetown Botanic Gardens.

Guyana and South Australia, and their capitals, Georgetown and Adelaide have been connected since the 1840s, Mr Richard Schomburgk, the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide’s second director, undertook natural history, ethnographic and geographic explorations of British Guyana with his brother Sir Robert Schomburgk prior to his appointment in Adelaide. The Schomburgk brothers are celebrated in Guyana the same way as Australians celebrate Captain James Cook and Sir Joseph Banks. It is wonderful that we can continue this relationship for over 170 years.

In October 1868, Richard Schomburgk oversaw the plantings of Guyana's national flower, the Amazon Waterlily. In its first month, 30,000 people, or a fifth of Adelaide's population, came to see the attraction. This amazing plant continues to be one of the jewels of Adelaide Botanic Gardens today through the support of the Governments of Guyana and South Australia. The new MOU was signed in the stunning Amazon Waterlily Pavilion.

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