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The new relationship between Old Dominion University and the Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) brought two distinguished scientists to the university's campus Sunday, April 29, for a visit coordinated by Timothy Motley, the J. Robert Stiffler Distinguished Professor in Botany and Horticulture.

Michael Balick, director of ethnobotany at the New York Botanical Garden, and Dieter Wilken, director of the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, viewed ODU's Orchid Conservatory Complex, which is under construction, and discussed research projects with students and faculty members.

The visitors, who were hosted by Motley and Donald Buma, director of the NBG, were in Hampton Roads to perform an on-site accreditation review of the NBG for the American Museum Association. The review started Monday, April 30.

With the appointment of Motley to the Stiffler professorship last year, ODU and the NBG began a partnership that signals a new research emphasis at the NBG. The professor ship is structured so that Motley can divide his time between the university and the garden. Stiffler, the longtime horticultural columnist for The Virginian-Pilot, is the author of "Gardening in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina."

The museum association's accreditation review will look into NBG's governance and benefit to the public, as well as its research activities.

ODU's orchid conservatory is nearing completion just to the north of the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building. It will have office, laboratory and greenhouse areas, and will house the orchid collection donated to the school by Dr. Arthur S. Kaplan, a retired Norfolk physician, and his wife, Phyllis.

Dr. Kaplan's brother, retired businessman Leonard Kaplan, and his wife, Tobee, of Greensboro, N.C., donated $1 million for the construction of the greenhouse/conservatory.

This article was posted on: April 30, 2007

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