The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in Sarasota, FL, is increasing their gesneriad-related activities. In 2005 the Board of The Gesneriad Society authorized an annual donation of $2500 for each of the next 5 years to help support these activities.
Currently the institution is working on establishing an endowment for a full time Gesneriad research position. Here is an excerpt from a letter from Bruce K. Holst, Interim Director, Center for Tropical Plant Science & Conservation at Selby:
"In May 2007, we assembled a small team of gesneriad specialists and volunteers to create a strategic plan for the Gesneriad Resource Center. Participating were myself, John R. Clark, Larry Skog, Jeanne Katzenstein, Melissa McDowell, Marge Schmiel, and Wes Higgins. While the plan continues to be refined, a main goal is to seek funding for the creation of a full-time gesneriad research and conservation chair at Selby Gardens. While we have done, and can do a lot of work with our volunteer base, having a paid position focusing on gesneriads will be of tremendous benefit to the science and conservation of gesneriad species. With the GRF collection at Selby Gardens and with the Smithsonian Institution’s decision not to hire another gesneriad researcher, Selby Gardens is well-positioned to play a leading role in gesneriad studies. This chair would anchor what would then become the Gesneriad Research Center, whose work it would be to conduct taxonomic work, help conserve species in the wild and in botanical gardens, provide information to members of The Gesneriad Society and the public about gesneriads, and help coordinate international conferences to raise interest in, and the profile of gesneriads worldwide."