Students explore orchid conservation efforts in China

Hong Liu, assistant professor of ecology, and undergraduate students Haydee Borrero and Paul Nunez recently spent three weeks exploring Guangxi, a traditional province in southern China known for its mountainous terrain, abundant rivers and subtropical climate.

Paul Nunez, Haydee Borrero and Hong Liu of the Department of Earth and Environment meet Vice-Governor Chen Zhangliang (second from right) of Guangxi, China.

They attended the 3rd Guangxi International Orchid Symposium in Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in late May. The week-long symposium was sponsored by the Forestry Bureau of Guangxi. The trio also traveled the region, conducted research at the Yachang National Orchid Nature Reserve and met with local Guangxi government officials including the vice governor of Guangxi.

“It was an incredible and once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Borrero, an Environmental Studies major. “This was my second time in China, but my first time in southern china. We worked with Dr. Liu for over a week at the reserve. It was a privilege. Not everyone can go to there, you need special permission from local authorities. The sights are just spectacular.”

Liu’s research interests include conservation ecology and invasive species biology. She has been leading several conservation and restoration projects in China and the nature reserve since 2008.