Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the recipient of the prestigious Program Excellence Award, given by the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) for a four-year partnership entitled “Air Plants and Other Epiphytes of Belize: A Collaborative Project Between Two Botanical Gardens and a University.” The Program Excellence Award is presented to an APGA member who has shown an innovative spirit in the development of an original program, and has been a pioneer in disciplines that are important to horticultural institutions, including education, conservation, development, botany, gardening, horticulture, research, extension or administration.
Selby Gardens received the honor for its successful partnership with Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Botanical Garden, which provided significant funding and logistical support, and the University of Belize Environmental Research Institute. The main goal of the project was to promote the study, conservation and display of epiphytes in Belize, an area in which Selby Gardens specializes. Through work with these botanical organizations in Belize, about 860 plant materials, were collected for the Selby Gardens and Caves Branch living collections, and more than 2,000 mounted specimens were added to herbarium collections at both Selby Gardens and Belize National Herbarium. The preservation of the plants will be an asset for long-term plant research and conservation for both botanical gardens.