5x15 x Kew Gardens: Nature's Diversity

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Cultivating enlightening conversations on botanical science and conservation

Brigitte Baptiste

Brigitte Baptiste is a Colombian biologist. She was director for 10 years of the Alexander Von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute and currently serves as Chancellor of Universidad Ean, a higher education institution focused in sustainable entrepreneurship. She is considered an expert in environmental issues and biodiversity and she is an important leader in gender diversity, being recognized for her participation as a transgender woman in international conferences related to these issues. She has also been a reference in achieving important bridges between politics, academia and science. She has recently been engaged in several projects related to gender equality and inclusion, launching a fund to support LGTBI and transgender people to access higher education.

Jonathan Drori

Jonathan Drori is a trustee of The Eden Project and Cambridge University Botanic Garden, an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust and the WWF, and Honorary Professor at Birmingham University’s Institute of Forest Research. He is also the author of the runaway best sellers, Around the World In 80 Trees and Around the World in 80 Plants, revealing in awe-inspiring detail how the worlds of trees and plants are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. Previously, Jon was a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and for BBC TV, he was responsible for more than fifty science documentaries and series. He is known for several botanical TED talks, which have been viewed millions of times.

Luke Turner

Luke Turner’s second book Men At War is a critically-acclaimed account of masculinity and sexuality during the Second World War and how the conflict impacts our culture today. Turner’s first book Out Of The Woods, a memoir of desire, faith and an exploration of human identity within ‘nature’ and London’s Epping Forest, was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize. He is co-founder of online music and arts magazine The Quietus and has contributed to the Guardian, Observer, Telegraph, Vice, Dazed, NME and the BBC, among other publications and broadcasters.

Maria Vorontsova

Dr Maria Vorontsova is a Kew researcher who studies grasses, with a particular focus on tropical African diversity, evolutionary history, and the history of tropical grasslands and savannas. By describing and classifying herbarium specimens, Bat’s work at Kew enriches our understanding of ecosystems and their function. Bat's primary research focuses on the grass family (Poaceae) in Madagascar— a long- term project that encompasses diversity and classification, ecological roles, evolutionary relationships, and uses of grasses. Bat is also interested in the history and development of classifications and botanical nomenclature. If it is about grasses, Bat would like to hear about it.

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