The two conservation organizations will work together to protect and safeguard rare and endangered native Texas plants and promote the value of biodiversity and natural resources to the public.
Botanical Research Institute of Texas and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department expanded areas of their collaboration with the signing of a memorandum of understanding, formalizing the two organizations’ commitment to plant conservation, exploration and education.
The MOU creates a collaborative working relationship that advances plant conservation and programs that will educate the public about the importance of maintaining wild spaces for the health and well-being of people in Texas, a press release stated.
Included in the agreement, both organizations will:
- Support the Texas Conservation Action Plan.
- Strengthen their collaborative outreach and educational activities.
- Create training curricula to improve field identification and documentation of native plant species.
- Collaborate on providing outdoor education, exhibit development, and interpretive media projects and other services to state parks and state natural areas.
“What makes this collaboration so important is that we’re not just getting one botanist to help identify rare plants, we’re getting BRIT’s full complement of research botanists and environmental educators to work with us,” stated Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in the release. “Our partnership with BRIT helps us keep our commitment to Texas’ wild things and wild places.”
Collaborative programs are already underway. One such program involves examining the distributions of 10 rare Texas plants and providing training materials for citizen scientists to go in the field and look for new populations.
“As the newest Texas member of the Center for Plant Conservation organization, BRIT’s goal of documenting and protecting rare native plants is paramount,” stated Dr. Ed Schneider, BRIT’s executive director, in the release. “Our research and education work with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department ensures that these plants will be discovered, protected, and appreciated by future generations of Texans.”
BRIT is a nonprofit, international research and education center that collects and safeguards plant specimens, studies and protects living plants, and teaches about the importance of conservation and biodiversity to the world.
Photo: Seated left to right are Carter-Smith, executive director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Dr. Ed Schneider, executive director of Botanical Research Institute of Texas.