Botanical Research Institute of Texas Announces First Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture Recipient

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The Botanical Research Institute of Texas announced Kristin Beuke of Dallas, TX, as the first recipient of the Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture enabling Ms. Beuke to work and study at the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.

Ms. Kristin Beuke, 2011 Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture recipient with BRIT president and director Dr. S. H. Sohmer

“We believe that the Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture will expand the professional and scientific horizons of its US recipients and help them to become our future environmental stewards..." said S. H. Sohmer, Ph.D., FLS, BRIT's president and director.

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas announced Kristin Beuke of Dallas, TX, as the first recipient of the Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture enabling Ms. Beuke to work and study at the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK, for a three month period from July through September, 2011.

Kristin will participate in Kew’s Voluntary Horticultural Internship Program where she will be assigned to Kew’s Great Glasshouses & Training Section. She will provide plant maintenance in the Tropical Nursery while furthering her botanical studies.

“We believe that the Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture will expand the professional and scientific horizons of its US recipients and help them to become our future environmental stewards, as well as further our collaboration with our colleagues at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew,” says S. H. Sohmer, Ph.D., FLS, BRIT's president and director. “This is a great opportunity for an exceptional student like Kristin. We wish her well.”

Kristin is a junior botany major at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, and is passionate about growing orchids, so much so, that she uses the name of one orchid species in her email address. After the Fellowship and graduating from UNT, Kristin plans to pursue a master’s degree and then a career in creating functional urban gardens helping bring a larger presence of botany and horticulture to North Texas.

“BRIT is taking a leading role in the advancement of botanical research and knowledge sharing in the US by awarding this fellowship at an early and formative stage of a person’s career,” says Ms. Emma Fox, Principal, School of Horticulture, Royal Botanic Garden, Kew. “We are very pleased to be a part of this fine fellowship program and are looking forward to receiving Kristin.”

The Ian Leese Fellowship is an award made possible by the generosity of Judith and Tim Sear and provides funds for US graduate or undergraduate students majoring in botany and/or horticulture to intern with scientists at the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. The Fellowship includes a one-time stipend of $5,000 (USD) for the purpose of defraying local housing and other miscellaneous living expenses, as well as travel to and from Kew.

The Ian Leese Fellowship will be available next year, pending the expected continuation of funding. Call for Applications for the 2012 Ian Leese Fellowship will be announced in November 2011, and details will be available on the BRIT web site (http://www.brit.org).

About the Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Founded in 1987, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas is an international, scientific research and learning center focused on conservation and knowledge sharing. Based in Fort Worth, BRIT documents the diversity of plant life and conducts extensive research around the world. Current major projects are in Texas, Europe, Peru, and Papua New Guinea. In the last ten years, BRIT scientists have located and described scores of species previously unknown to science.

BRIT's herbarium, a collection of more than one million dried plant specimens representing much of Earth’s plant diversity, is among the largest in the United States and is the largest U.S. herbarium not part of a university, botanical garden, or broader natural history museum. Some specimens date back to the late 1700’s. BRIT's library houses more than 125,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and journals from more than 100 countries.

BRIT’s collections-based research provides information for conservation purposes and is a resource for research scientists, students, teachers, plant enthusiasts, gardeners, hospitals, and many others. As the largest independent herbarium in the United States not part of a university, botanical garden, or broader natural history museum, BRIT’s plant collections and educational programs are open to the public to help fulfill our mission to achieve public understanding of the value that plants bring to life.

In the spring of 2011, BRIT moved into its new sustainable and energy efficient headquarters located in the Fort Worth Cultural District. The building’s grand opening is scheduled for May 21, 2011. BRIT.org

Contact:    
Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Chris Chilton, director of marketing and public relations; 817.546-8691; cell 817.880.5670; cchilton(at)brit(dot)org; http://www.brit.org

About Ian Leese: The Ian Leese Fellowship in Horticulture honors Ian Leese, a respected horticulturist. He was Principal of the School of Horticulture at Kew from 1990-2005. As Principal, Ian gave loyal service to Kew over 15 years. He was always willing to give his time, advice and support to the many students, both past and present, who studied at the School, and helped them in their careers. He was an excellent ambassador for the organisation and his good humour and gentle nature encouraged many others to support the work of the School and the students.

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