On September 20th, 2011, the Baltimore Ecosystem Study hosted a delegation of Chinese scientists from the Guizhou Academy of Sciences (GAS). The Guizhou Academy of Sciences is a unique provincial comprehensive natural science research organization with a history of over 70 years. GAS is comprised of seven institutions: Guizhou Botanical Garden, Guizhou Biological Research Institute, Guizhou Karst Resources Environment and Development Research Center, Guizhou Physical Test and Chemical Analysis Center, Guizhou Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering Institute, Guizhou New Material Base, and Guizhou New Technology Research Institute.
The delegation was sponsored by the San Francisco United States-China Exchange Council who brought the delegation to the United States for three weeks to learn how the U.S. maintains its biodiversity in hopes of informing their own efforts to set up biodiversity studies in their home province. The Academy is currently designing biodiversity vegetation studies in two forested areas in Guizhou Province. One area is fully protected while the second is situated near an urban center.
The delegation consisted of 10 scientists mainly from environmental and ecologically based disciplines. The day began at University of Maryland, Baltimore County where BES Ecology Education Program Leader, Bess Caplan, and Delegate Mary Washington, from the Parks & People Foundation, gave an overview of the structure and management practices of BES. Following their presentation, Chris Swan, from UMBC, gave an overview of biodiversity studies within BES. The day continued with lunch followed by a visit to two BES research sites: a permanent plot site in Leakin Park and a riparian restoration site along Stony Run.
The delegation was enthusiastic about the day and is looking forward to continuing conversations and collaborations with BES. A formal invitation has been presented to several BES collaborators to visit their research sites in the Guizhou Province of China.