England native Michael Maunder helping make Fairchild bloom as one of the world's most-renowned botanic gardens
By the time it closed last week, the exhibition of artist Dale Chihuly's colorful and whimsical glass forms had attracted more than 200,000 visitors to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in southeast Miami-Dade. No one was more pleased with the success of the fusion of art and nature than the garden's director, Michael "Mike" Maunder. It gave him great pleasure, he says in this interview with Miami Today international editor Michael Hayes, to see visitors meandering through the garden and deriving new pleasure from it.
The 43-year-old native of England came to the 85-acre, 70-year-old botanic garden 31/2 years ago as director of horticulture and took on his present role there a year later. He has put his personal stamp on what has become renowned as one of the world's leading research- and education-based public gardens, known particularly for its superb plant collections and as a leader in conservation here and overseas.
Mr. Maunder, recipient of the Star Award from the Center for Plant Conservation for his work in that area in the United States, spent 18 years at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, and two years as director of conservation and curator of living collections at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii before coming to Fairchild.
He was interviewed by Michael Hayes, international editor of Miami Today.
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