Botanic Garden Conservation International (BGCI), the world’s largest plant conservation network, announced the appointment of Gerard T. Donnelly, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, to its Board of Directors. A trained botanist and forest ecologist, Donnelly has been working in partnership with BGCI as well as Flora and Fauna International to advance the Global Trees Campaign, an international program dedicated to saving the world’s threatened tree species.

Donnelly has led The Morton Arboretum, the premier tree-focused botanical garden in the world located on 1,700-acres 25 miles west of Chicago, since 1990. Under Donnelly’s leadership, The Morton Arboretum has grown to more than 1,000,000 visitors annually and focuses its efforts as a global leader in tree science and conservation. Donnelly also led the initiative to establish ArbNet, a professional network of arboreta worldwide that facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience, and other resources, and works to raise professional standards through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program.

Dr. Paul Smith, BGCI’s Secretary General, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Donnelly to our Board. He is a leading figure in the global botanic garden community, is hugely respected by his peers and we regard it as a great honor that he has agreed to serve on BGCI’s Board.”

Donnelly previously served as President of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) from 1997-1999, and received APGA’s highest honor, the Honorary Life Member Award, in 2013. He is a Council Board Member for the International Association of Botanic Gardens, and a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the International Dendrology Society. He previously served on the Global Tree Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International is the only global consortium of botanic gardens devoted to conserving the world’s plant diversity. Its membership includes more than 500 botanic gardens, whose collections include at least a third of the world’s plant species. BGCI members are working together to conserve all plant diversity for future generations.

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