This week I visited the wonderful Botanical Gardens in Atlanta, Georgia. Its many years since I was last there and the place is as beautiful as ever. Atlanta Botanical Gardens is set in 30 Acres of parkland and is a non-profit organisation that aims to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. We first started working with ABG when Ron Gagliardo first developed their superb amphibian collection.
Today, Mark Mandica (above) is leading the way with the exceptional amphibian conservation collection at ABG, and meeting him this week was a real pleasure. He is a super nice guy and extremely committed to their collection, which includes a wide variety of rare Panamanian and South American tree frog species such as Anotheca spinosa, Agalychnis lemur, and Gastrotheca cornuta. Walking through the gardens towards the Fuqua Conservatory, where the frogs are housed, I couldn’t help but be wowed by some of the amazing giant plant sculptures which feature in their new exhibition – the tree frogs were obviously first to catch my eye!
Located within the entrance to the tropical conservatory are several naturalistic exhibits containing a wide variety of rare frogs that also feature in the major frog conservation program based at ABG. Frogs on display included the Fringed Leaf Frog,Cruziohyla craspedopus, a rare species with its own highly sculptured legs that we are also now lucky enough to be working with again in Manchester.
The centerpiece of the high elevation tropical House at ABG was a massive waterfall surrounded with brilliantly flowering orchids and exotic bromeliads. Poison dart frogs constantly called around me as I wandered around this wonderful tropical setting, and Mark pointed out pools of water absolutely full of developing tadpoles, which were clearly thriving under such naturalistic conditions.
I would like to recommend anyone visiting Atlanta to go to the Botanical Gardens and experience this wonderful place for themselves. I would also very much like to thank Mark Mandica, ABG, and Ron Gagliardo for all their continuing valued support.
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