The UBC Botanical Garden recently received a donation of over $1 million from the Franklinia Foundation. The money will fund a variety of new ventures, including research trips to Asia to source more specimens for the garden, international internships for students and a substantial expansion to the garden itself.
Since the garden is partially funded by UBC — they are a department within the Faculty of Science — the university covers staff salaries and other basic needs. The donation will substantially add to this total by allowing for new opportunities that would not otherwise have been possible without that funding.
“We already provide a very important function on campus and that is a teaching garden,” said Douglas Justice, one of the associate directors of the garden and the head of horticulture and collections. “We provide the collections for the benefit of society both in terms of education, research and conservation, but also to give the community… somewhere nice to go and look at these things.”
In the past, the garden has applied to the foundation for funds to help staff members go to Asia to collect seed and specimens. The Franklinia Foundation has supported the Botanical Garden’s plant exploration in Asia in the past, but this is their biggest donation to the initiative to date.
The garden’s staff does not include researchers or UBC faculty, but rather anyone can use the garden for studies and pleasure. The donation will prove beneficial to a wide range of people interested in using the Asian plant material that the garden supplies.
“Essentially, the Botanical Garden is a non-academic unit in an academic faculty,” said Justice. “We have a collection of plants that are of interest to researchers both on campus and around the world.”