I am pleased to accept the invitation to take on the role of Patron of the AAFBG and I am looking forward to ‘working’ with you all.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend your AGM on 5 May and therefore didn’t have the chance to meet those of you who were present, so I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share some of my background with you.
I began my botanical career with a Science degree at University of Sydney and a PhD at University of Adelaide, based on taxonomic and breeding system studies of the genus Dodonaea (hop bushes) in the family Sapindaceae.
From 1980 I worked as a research scientist in CSIRO based in Canberra, as Director of the Australian National Herbarium and then as Senior Principal Research Scientist leading the Australian Flora and Natural Resource Management Program. My research in these years focussed on genera such as Calandrinia (Portulacaceae) and Pultenaea (Fabaceae) and several other groups in collaboration with PhD students and post-doctoral research fellows.
Throughout my career, I have promoted plant taxonomic and systematics research through participation on numerous national and international associations and committees. I have also had long term interest and have published on issues relating to biodiversity, biogeography and biodiversity informatics.
In 2009 I was appointed as the Executive Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG), only retiring from this position in November 2022. It has been a wonderful place to work and particularly to build its profile as an innovative scientific botanic garden.
During my time at the ANBG I worked closely with the Friends of the ANBG and I respect and greatly appreciate their ongoing dedication and support of the Gardens. Their assistance contributes significantly to the quality of the visitor experience and enhances conservation and research activities.
With inspiration from you as AAFBG members I will continue to be a strong supporter and advocate of Friends Groups across the botanic gardens sector.
Dr Judy West, AO