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The orchid hunter: a summer in search of our tresses and twayblades – Leif Bersweden – Lecture
Thursday 17 October 2019 at 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Leif Bersweden has had a lifelong interest in nature, focusing on plants from the age of seven. He grew up in rural Wiltshire where he taught himself how to identify the local flora and now regularly leads plant identification training courses for The Species Recovery Trust. Leif graduated in biology from the University of Oxford and is now a PhD student at Kew Gardens, where his research focuses on orchid genetics. In a world where an interest in botany is becoming increasingly rare, he wants to help put plants back on the map and is endeavouring to do this through his teaching, research and publications.
On one of the strangest pre-university gap years you’ve ever heard of, Leif Bersweden spent the summer of 2013 hunting down all 52 species of wild orchid native to Britain and Ireland. He introduces his book, The Orchid Hunter, which tells the personal tale of this summer-long quest. As he travels all over the country, from the shores of the Channel Islands to the grassy pastures of the Brecon Beacons, from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to the wind-swept coasts of the Outer Hebrides, Leif teaches us about some of our most extraordinary native plants, the history of orchid hunting in Britain as well as sharing stories of his childhood growing up to love plants. As Alys Fowler puts it, writing for Gardens Illustrated, “Bersweden is everything you’d expect from a young man on the cusp of adulthood: enthusiastic, impatient, competitive, naïve, joyful and delightfully nerdy”.
This lecture is organised by the Friends of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.
Lectures will be held at the Frank Theatre, Wills Physics Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL. All lectures start at 7.30pm (except in March when the lecture follows the AGM) and are free to Friends on production of their membership card; guests will be asked for a donation (suggested £5). Attendees can use any University car park: the nearest are in University Walk and The Hawthorns.
Disabled access: The University will make every effort to provide disabled access where possible. Disabled parking is available and wheelchair access is by the ramp at the side of the main steps. If you require support due to a disability please email Sally Meadows: firstname.lastname@example.org