Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fairchild Announces New Director

Coral Gables, FL, December 11, 2008-Dr.Carl Lewis has been named Director of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world. Dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants, Fairchild attracts more than 400,000 visitors and serves over 50,000 school children each year. Following a unanimous vote by Fairchild's Board of Trustees, Dr. Lewis, 35, officially began his new position at Fairchild on December 8, 2008. Dr. Lewis began his tenure at Fairchild in 2001 as a research scientist. Since that time he has worked to strengthen Fairchild's scientific programs and enhance the value of its plant collections. Throughout his career, Dr. Lewis has been involved in plant exploration, molecular biology, conservation, and horticultural science. He is credited with introducing new plant species to Fairchild, building a DNA bank of rare plants from throughout the world, developing a guide to growing palms (www.fairchildgarden.org/palmguide) and collaborating with scientists worldwide to understand the evolution and taxonomy of palms. "Carl has a solid record of accomplishments at Fairchild in many of our major disciplines and is well liked," said Bruce Greer, President of Fairchild's Board of Trustees. "Dr. Lewis's scientific credibility and his diverse experience throughout the Garden will be an asset in the planning and management of Fairchild. This appointment also will be greeted favorably in the academic community as Carl has been honored by becoming one of four worldwide editors of Genera Palmarum, the seminal scholarly work on Palms. We are confident that he will provide excellent leadership as the Garden embarks on exciting new projects as well as continuing to implement education and research programs that focus on local and world-wide botanical, conservation and ecological concerns. "I am thrilled to accept the position as Director at Fairchild," said Dr. Lewis. "This is an extraordinary opportunity to work toward furthering Fairchild's superior reputation as a world-class garden and as a true leader in botanical conservation research and education." Research projects developed by Dr. Lewis have been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He has published dozens of papers in prestigious scientific journals and delivered presentations at scientific conferences around the world. He coauthored Genera Palmarum: The Evolution and classification of palms, a new, comprehensive book on palm science. Dr. Lewis received a B.A. with honors in Botany from Connecticut College, and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University.

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