Dr. John Donaldson, chief director of conservation science at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, visited Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) with his graduate student, Terence Suinyuy. While here, John and Terence discussed future research and conservation collaborations with MBC, and photographed the Encephalartos collections.

In a presentation, Pictures From The Edge, Dr. Donaldson shared his project photographing cycads — some of which are now extinct — “to inspire an appreciation of wild plants in wild places”. Wild Portraits is a limited edition of prints from that project which supports cycad conservation; the IUCN Cycad Specialist Group receives a portion of the profits.

Larry Aronson, a longtime volunteer and friend of MBC, has very generously donated a complete set of those nine cycad prints to MBC. Montgomery Botanical plans to display the cycad portraits in the Nixon Smiley Meeting Room upon completion of the Room’s renovation.

“I was very excited to bring Larry [Aronson] and John [Donaldson] together for this presentation,” stated Dr. Patrick Griffith, MBC executive director. “Larry has been an incredibly dedicated volunteer here, and the prints he gifted to MBC are wonderful. Having John describe these beautiful prints in person was a unique opportunity.”