Celebrating the Colombian Way

The vibrant cultural and biological diversity of Colombia is celebrated in a festival of music, talks, food and free activities at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s (RBGE) John Hope Gateway visitor centre, during the weekend of August 11 & 12.

Fun and lively, Festival Colombiano events range from music by Khantara to dance workshops, jewellery making, magic statues and weaving. There will also be a Colombian menu at the Gateway restaurant. On a serious note, the celebration has been organised to raise awareness of the incredible range of ecosystems in Colombia, with its stunning landscapes from the deepest rain forests, in the Amazon, to the high Andes and the Caribbean coastline.

RBGE tropical botanist Dr James Richardson and indigenous culture specialist Dr Ann Simpson, from The University of Strathclyde, will give presentations on challenges facing the country. Information will be available, too, on the Shared Responsibility Programme, which is working with schools and communities in Scotland and Colombia to raise awareness of the damaging environmental effects of illicit coca cultivation.

James Richardson explained: “Colombia has an estimated 28,000 species of plants that are found from deserts to rainforests and vegetation zones throughout the Andes. These habitats provide essential ecosystem services with, for example, high Andean Páramo vegetation providing water for major cities in the Northern Andes. The exceptional biodiversity is threatened by logging, agriculture - including illicit coca cultivation, mining of coal, gold and other minerals and climate change. These activities also threaten the way of life of indigenous groups who have lived in the region for thousands of years. RBGE helps document the biodiversity of Colombia, determining how it evolved and providing information that will assist with the determination of conservation strategies.”

The event is a joint production between RBGE, The University of Strathclyde, Sabedoras, the Tambora Foundation for Children, the Colombian Embassy and Shared Responsibility.

ENDS

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For more information, images and interviews, please contact Shauna Hay on 0131 248 2900, Sandra Donnelly on 0131 248 1037

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a leading international research organisation delivering knowledge, education and plant conservation action in more than 80 countries around the world. In Scotland its four Gardens at Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan attract nearly a million visitors each year. It operates as a Non Departmental Public Body established under the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985, principally funded by the Scottish Government. It is also a registered charity, managed by a Board of Trustees appointed by Ministers. Its mission is “exploring and explaining the world of plants for a better future.” Learn more: www.rbge.org.uk

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)