A King in China

SUBHEAD: NTBG and KCC present film on the explorations in China of Hawaiian botanist Joseph Francis Rock.

By Jon Letman on 8 April 2013 in Island Breath -

Image above: Joseph Francis Rock with the King of Muli. From book "Joseph F. Rock and His Shangri-La", (http://www.gokunming.com/en/blog/item/1839/book_review_joseph_f_rock_and_his_shangrila).

National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kauai Community College present a special showing of A King in China: The Life of Joseph Francis Rock

Tuesday, April 23, 5:30-7:00pm

Kauai Community College Cafeteria
3-1901 Kaumualii Highway, Līhue

A Botanist from Hawai'i Makes a Mark on China.

National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kauai Community College will offer a glimpse into the life of the man known as 'the father of Hawaiian botany', who went on to become internationally recognized for his explorations in China. The free film showing of A King in China: The Life of Joseph Francis Rock will be introduced by NTBG Director and CEO Chipper Wichman on Tuesday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at the KCC Campus Center.

The 2013 showing coincides with the 100th anniversary of what many in and outside of Hawaii consider a foundational publication on Hawaiian plant life, Rock’s 1913 The Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian Islands, republished by NTBG in 1974. During his introduction, Wichman will share another important connection between Rock and the NTBG, the national nonprofit botanical institution headquartered on Kaua'i.

Rock, a largely self-taught plant collector, has a number of Hawaiian species named for him, including the Kauai endemic sedge Cyperus rockii. In the 1920s Rock traveled to Asia for the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he collected plants used in treating Hansen's disease. He may be most known for the expeditions he led for the National Geographic Society and others in Chinese and Tibetan border regions, exhaustively documenting the culture and language of the Naxi, an ethnic minority in Yunan province. Later he continued his work in Southeast Asia before eventually returning to China and then back to Hawaii in the 1950s. The 52-minute film covers Rock’s time in regions of Southwest China and Tibet, which remain remote today even as much of the culture has all but vanished.

Wichman says "the story of Rock’s explorations in China is so fantastic it is hard to comprehend in the context of our modern society. Everyone in Hawai'i should know that this internationally celebrated explorer got his start right here in the Islands, where he taught himself not only botany but also photography, which endeared him to the National Geographic Society."

This special event is the second installment in the "Around the World of Plants" lecture series, which is one of many collaborations between Kaua'i Community College and the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Both KCC and NTBG share a common goal of quality education to truly change lives. KCC, which is part of the University of Hawai'i system, operates a large campus in Līhu'e. For information on the institutions, visit their respective websites at kauai.hawaii.edu and www.ntbg.org


No comments :

Post a Comment