BRIT® to Exhibit “Kochi Makino: An Amazing Botanical Garden in Japan”

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Botanical Exhibit from Kochi Prefecture, Japan Documents Growth of Its Premier Botanical Garden through Research Programs and Collections

Exhibit on view at BRIT in Fort Worth, Texas, September 7 - November 30, 2013

“Kochi Makino gives BRIT an opportunity to showcase how its sister herbarium located halfway around the world has achieved its research goals under the direction of Dr. Tetsuo Koyama,” said Dr. S.H. Sohmer, BRIT’s president and director.

Beginning September 7, BRIT will present Kochi Makino: An Amazing Botanical Garden in Japan, an exhibition tracing the strategic growth of one of Japan’s premier botanical gardens. The exhibit is free to the public and will provide audiences with an interesting view of how the Makino Botanical Garden transformed itself from flower garden into an internationally respected botanical research organization during the last decade.

Visitors will be introduced to Makino through a brief history and will learn how Makino botanists collect, document, and preserve plant knowledge. Two special sections will highlight Makino’s international and medicinal plant research activities showing its herbarium, library, and laboratories. The exhibit includes plant specimens, plant photos, rare books, and other memorabilia. Also shown is a portion of Makino’s collection of 16th and 17th Century botanical illustrations.

The exhibit will be on view in BRIT’s Exhibit Hall through November 30, 2013.

“Kochi Makino gives BRIT an opportunity to showcase how its sister herbarium located halfway around the world has achieved its research goals under the direction of Dr. Tetsuo Koyama,” said Dr. S.H. Sohmer, BRIT’s president and director. “Makino distinguishes its operations as being one of only a few research botanical gardens in Japan.”

The garden’s research is currently focusing on the plant studies in Myanmar both in the areas of basic taxonomy and medicinal plants. Paralleling the Myanmar research, the Garden carries out investigations of local (Kochi) flora with emphasis on rare or endangered plants and their conservation.

For its international and local research initiatives, the Makino Botanical Garden was recognized as a statutory research institute by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in 2003.

Opened to the public in April 1958, the Makino Botanical Garden is characterized by slopes and dells and with over 3,000 species of plants on display. In 1999, the grounds were significantly enlarged and the Museum of Plant and People was inaugurated, strengthening the garden’s role in education. At the same time, Professor Dr. Tetsuo Koyama, (former senior curator and director of Asian botany at the New York Botanical Garden), joined the staff of Kochi Makino as director.

Since then, it has increased its research portfolio by establishing bilateral agreements with institutions in Myanmar, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, China, USA, and Canada in order to undertake scientific research overseas and build on its knowledge of economic plants.

In 2008, it celebrated its 50th Anniversary with the opening of the re-designed South Garden. In 2010, a new conservatory was opened. The Garden continues to develop as a center for plant conservation, research, learning, and as a green oasis for the whole community.

The relationship between BRIT and the Makino Botanical Garden was established through the personal friendship and collegial relationship between the institutes’ directors, Dr. Sohmer and Dr. Tetsuo Koyama.

In 2001, the Makino Botanical Garden hosted an exhibition titled, Botanical Illustrations of the Botanical Institute of Texas. BRIT research activities and BRIT collections of the Texas flora were introduced to the people of Kochi. Beautifully displayed were fine botanical line drawings and colored illustrations, floral prints, herbarium specimens, educational kits, and real western regalia (e.g., horse saddle, lariat, boots, chaps, etc.). All of this helped establish a Texas theme for this collaborative exhibition. As an extension of appreciation and collaborative exchange, BRIT generously donated 3,000 scientific herbarium specimens to the Makino Botanical Garden in 2002.

Related Program
Director’s Presentation
Saturday, September 21, 11:00 a.m. BRIT Commons
Dr. Tetsuo Koyama, Kochi Makino’s director, will present a seminar on the garden’s growth during the last decade.

About the Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Founded in 1987, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) based in Fort Worth, Texas, is an international, scientific research and learning center focused on conservation, knowledge sharing, and studying the diversity of plant life. BRIT conducts extensive global research, including major projects in Texas, Europe, Peru, and the Pacific Islands. In the last 10 years, BRIT scientists have located and described scores of species previously unknown to science. BRIT's herbarium 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. In the spring of 2011, BRIT moved into its new, U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-certified headquarters located in the Fort Worth Cultural District. BRIT is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.brit.org.

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