How can you personally help support Chris' projects?
1. How about joining the Himalayan Plant, North American Plant or British Plant Associations (which have high quality Seed Exchanges), savouring more fine images of wild and cultivated plants, whilst gaining a unique insight into these floras? See:
2. Why not suggest him as a speaker to a local or regional club or society you belong to (see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/topics-fees-expenses? Chris has lectured in France, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, India, Canada and the USA - so anyone outside the UK might consider him as a key-note speaker at special events, conferences or why not help organise a lecture tour? He has completed 4 of these in North America
3. Why not obtain seed through his Seed-Sowing Society? Now that new rules and regulations mean that access to fresh supplies of seed from wild sources will be strictly-limited to zero, it makes even more sense to concentrate upon those plants which are already in cultivation. Amongst the specimens specialist gardeners currently grow are many species others would like to have the opportunity to try themselves. I am aware that much larger, long-established horticultural societies have Seed Exchanges, some of them, large. So what can a much smaller society provide? Well, there is a fundamental problem with existing seed exchanges (and even some Botanic Garden Index Semina). A significant proportion of the items donated to such exchanges have been misidentified. I am in a position to ensure a MUCH higher level of accuracy and reliability identification-wise combined with 30 years experience as Proprietor of Chadwell Seeds in cleaning and recognising viable seed to send out.
4. How about making a donation to directly support Chris' work through pay-pal or cheque? He certainly needs your support, having never received a penny towards his botanical research on Himalayan flora.
5. Have you ever trekked in Ladakh, Lahoul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Kashmir, the Himalayan districts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranachal or Northern Pakistan and taken photos of flowers? Have you wanted them to be RELIABLY identified, whether it was during a holiday or towards a research project? Chris offers a free IDENTIFICATION service and hopes you would be willing, in return, for him to utilise the images you send towards his on-going research on the 'Flora of the Western Himalaya'. Whilst sharply-focussed close-up images taken with digital cameras in the past few years are likely to be of maximum use, scanned in images taken with slides in past decades are still welcome - as are photos that may be imperfect or not close-ups, as these are still informative, helping understand variation within each species, its altitudinal and geographic range and habitats where each species grows.
At present there is no RELIABLE check-list for the Flora of the Western Himalaya, let alone an up-to-date full flora. Chris has dedicated his life to the study of the region's flora. With your help, to complement his own photographic collection and reference information, he can produce, genus by genus, photographic guides to the flora. BEFORE plants can begin to be properly CONSERVED, it is ESSENTIAL to know the abundance or not of each species and its geographic and altitudinal range plus habitats it is found in and associated species. Otherwise it is IMPOSSIBLE to ACCURATELY say which species are rare, let alone endangered. As things stand, INACCURATE claims of supposedly 'Rare and Endangered' species are being made, when a majority of these are actually widespread, common, even abundant! What about the GENUINELY rare and endangered species - nobody actually knows. Please contribute if you can. Polunin & Stainton's 'Flowers of the Himalaya' published in 1983 represents a useful starting point but this was merely intended as an initial guide, covering only a fraction (not much more than 10%) of the total number of species which are found in the Himalaya - it is NOT a full flora and its use ALONE often results in misidentifications. Only for distinctive species can one accurately identify by matching with a single, relatively small photo (and brief description) - often much more detail is required as the diagnostic characteristics of particular species may well not be shown in one or two general images just showing the 'pretty' bits. One needs to know which parts of a plant need to be examined in close-up.
6. Or make donations to the charities Chris supports? Sadly, one must take great care not to be the victim of fraud - whether the charity is involved in medical or other aid/development activities or conservation projects. Just because a charity is registered, has a famous patron and big name trustees, is no guarantee it is genuine! Such "names" seldom have any relevant expertise, so should think more carefully before endorsing projects in countries they know little about. Too many people are "taken in" by the content of dodgy web-sites and reports which are largely works of fiction or unreliable articles in the media, written by journalists who have no relevant training or expertise in the topics they write about. This is a disturbing situation. I remember having a draft article I submitted to one leading British newspaper about my travels curtly rejected on the basis that it was, "Not up to journalistic standards". Well, to be fair, my informal prose is imperfect but the content of what I write is accurate and I do know what I am talking about. Surely this features matter rather more than an all-too-often case of, "style and sensationalism" winning over genuine content.
We, sadly, live in a world dominated and manipulated by tabloid-level reporting and sound-bites.........