In Honor of Bamboo Pioneers <August 14, 2018 at the 11WBCMexico>
Living creatures all around the world depend on bamboo for their survival. This includes Homo sapiens. We all know that for centuries, human cultures have cultivated and utilized bamboo for their daily needs and through innovation improved their livelihoods and economies.
On the village level, farmers and craftsmen developed techniques which were passed down from generation to generation. In more modern times, man has looked to science for solutions and progress. Through committed research, we have discovered new approaches of how bamboo as a managed resource can lead to the betterment of mankind.
Dedication, determination and collaboration are required to advance any scientific endeavor. There exist individuals whose lifelong commitment to bamboo science and culture deserve our attention and honored recognition. Today, as part of the inauguration of the 11th World Bamboo Congress, we honor 4 of these great Bamboo Pioneers:
Rafael Guillaumin Fentanes
Ximena Londoño Pava
Linda Garland (1948-2016)
Linda Garland was the founder and president of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, an institution that has been instrumental in the development of the modern use of bamboo throughout Indonesia and beyond.
Linda was born in 1948 in Ireland, the daughter of a Spitfire pilot and a nurse of Louis Mount Batton’s front line. Linda was genetically coded to be a courageous spirit, willing and able to fight for a cause. After starting a career as an 18-year-old designer, Linda unfortunately was involved in a very bad car accident that broke almost every bone on the left side of her body and left her hospitalized for a 2-year recovery process. She was subjected to an experimental procedure of several platinum bone implants. After recovery and a process of deep existential reflection, Linda traveled the world and ended up chasing a textile back to its source in Bali, Indonesia.
She fell in love with Bali, and a few years later (mid-1970’s), Linda discovered the island’s giant bamboos, and the multitude of bamboo utilization in the traditional way of life in Indonesia. L
As a creative designer, Linda integrated giant bamboo into many of her interior designs. Many of her clients were very high profile, such as Dr. Kajima of Kajima Enterprises, David Bowie, Richard Branson and several other inspiring people. Linda helped bring bamboo into high fashion in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and in the process helped several villages create cottage industries. Linda was awarded the Upakarti Award (the very prestigious nation-building achievement recognition award for those in the arts) from Indonesian President Suharto. Her achievements in catalyzing the formation of over 10 cottage industry areas in Bali had been noticed; all flourished into many multi-million-dollar institutions in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia.
Sofas, chairs, beds, and jewelry: there was no limit to what Linda and her design team created from bamboo. Unfortunately, however, this caused a huge shockwave of demand for bamboo and wood in the replication and interpretation of these designs. Subsequent projects by many other designers “catching the drift” of these new ideas of modernized vernacular style, and within 5 years many unsustainable activities started to destroy bamboo and wood forest areas to supply the demand of these designers. This came at a time when logging in Indonesia was becoming very apparent with large plots of forests disappearing from one year to the next. It was from here that Linda, with her love of bamboo and compassion for the environment, created the “Environmental Bamboo Foundation”.
The EBF was conceived as an idea and working group in the mid 80’s and was finally officialized in 1992 with Indonesian environmental heroes such as Dr. Emil Salim. The EBF had several objectives; on the one hand it focused on promoting bamboo as a timber alternative with a “learning by doing” approach to developing many bamboo technologies, as well as working with many communities (especially in East Indonesia) to reforest and restore degraded lands with bamboo. These works were noticed by Professor Walter Liese of Hamburg University (World Bamboo Pioneer 2009) who worked on many trials of the “modified boucherie Sap Replacement system” of preserving bamboo. The EBF, aided by Dr. Liese and his network, went on to develop the “vertical soak and diffusion system” of preserving bamboo as the most appropriate technology solution for rural farmers in Indonesia who could preserve bamboo “as easy as filling a cup full of water”. This work was recognized by Dr. Dina Nath Tewari of the Forestry Research institute of Dehra Dun (World Bamboo Pioneer 2015) who awarded Linda an honorary PhD for her achievement in developing the vertical soak and diffusion system.
Linda hosted the International Bamboo Congress of 1995 (4th WBC) in her home in Bali, which brought together many different people important to the development of the bamboo sector in an interdisciplinary and interindustry dialogue. Linda indeed showed the world what bamboo could do and set the example of its realities. She inspired many people with her confidence and her abilities, her talents and her charm, and she became known as the “Queen of Bamboo”.
I’m not sure if she liked that moniker, Queen of Bamboo, but she achieved a high rank of respect, no doubt. After the IV IBC, she realized many projects and achievements as her Environmental Bamboo Foundation became internationally recognized. Her research into preservation techniques brought advancements in the improved understanding of best management practices, and the IV IBC Proceedings were a compilation of the most recent developments in bamboo science and culture. Remember, this was well before the world-wide-web, and this kind of information was critical for bamboo to advance in modern-day applications.
With the support of Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Bamboo Foundation finalized the First National Strategy, which outlined the conservation and utilization of bamboo for Indonesia, launched by the Minister of Environment Dr. Sarwono Kustmajaya in 1997.
She opened her door (and her heart) to students and designers, investigators and dreamers. Bali already held mystique to many, but now it had become a bamboo mecca, thanks to Linda. People came to meet her, to talk with her, to see what she was doing. Linda pioneered a new world of bamboo – one with tradition but with technological and design innovation – and she realized the vast environmental benefits, which are today touted to mitigate climate change.
Her work lives on in the 1000 Bamboo Villages program that was launched at the COP 21 during the formation of the Paris Agreement. In Indonesia, bamboo has been identified as a key to restoring degraded landscapes whilst at the same time creating a community-based restoration economy in participating villages.
Linda was simply a visionary, a World Bamboo Pioneer like no other, and we are so grateful. Thank you, Linda. May you always feel the bamboo breeze against your cheek, thanking you for crusading for its respect and its promise, as we will all remember your valuable contribution.
Linda’s son, Arief Rabik, who continues her passionate work, is here with us today to receive his mother’s award.
Ned Jaquith (1939-2012)
Ned Jaquith was founder, owner and manager of Bamboo Garden Nursery in North Plains, Oregon, USA. This nursery is the largest bamboo nursery in the United States, with most likely the largest collection of temperate bamboos growing on more than 20 acres. It sells to growers and to the public, and hosts workshops, tours and special events.
Ned Jaquith was born in Kingman, Arizona USA in 1939 to Nina Rose and Odhus Jaquith, who worked in the nearby desert gold mines. As a small child, he followed his maternal granddad around the garden. During World War II, his parents had a large garden and sold small amounts of produce to a nearby grocery store. Ned was always in the garden helping, despite being only five years old. As a teenager, he had his own vegetable garden. From the age of six until leaving for college, they lived in the small town of Winterhaven, California, one half mile from Arizona and four miles from Baja California, Mexico. Due to Hollywood movies featuring Tarzan and Jungle Jim, and frequent trips to the San Diego Zoo, he developed a fondness for the tropical look of bamboo.
In 1976 Ned moved to Portland, Oregon, bringing a start of Bambusa oldhamii with him, not realizing that it was not a species hardy for the Pacific Northwest. It perished, as did his next bamboo, a Phyllostachys vivax, which was given to him by a friend (it flowered shortly after it was planted). In 1980, Ned went to a plant sale in Pasadena, California, hosted by the friends of the Huntington Botanical Garden. There, he bought starts of 12 different bamboos, and joined the newly formed American Bamboo Society.
In 1983 Ned helped create the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the ABS, with friend and colleague Daphne Lewis. The next year, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the ABS and attended his first overseas bamboo meeting in Puerto Rico (what now is considered the 1st World Bamboo Congress). Through the years following, he published PNW chapter newsletters and wrote articles for both the national and local publications. He served as vice president of the PNW in 1991-92, President of the PNW in 1997-98, and again president of PNW in 1999 to 2001. In 2003 he was awarded an Honorary Lifetime membership to the American Bamboo Society.
Ned started the nursery Bamboo Garden at his home in 1983, and moved to Milwaukie, Oregon in 1984. Nearly 300 different species of bamboo were collected at that site, when finally, it had outgrown the small lot. It was time to move to the present 20-acre location in North Plains. Ned had the ability to propagate and grow bamboo so successfully that Bamboo Garden amassed the largest collection of rare temperate bamboo in the country. If a rare species became available, Ned seemed to get a start, and then, in turn, he donated the resulting start to the chapter and national auctions. He also loved to grow bamboo from seeds, which takes a great deal of skill, and tons of patience.
Bamboo Garden Nursery has supplied bamboo for many large commercial landscaping projects including: Tacoma Zoo, Portland Classical Chinese Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon Zoo, Wellesley College in MA, Wayne Morse Courthouse in Eugene, OR, Asia Trail of the National Zoo in Washington DC, Shangri La Project in Vancouver, BC, and many others. The staff works closely with landscaping companies, providing healthy and beautiful bamboo for commercial and residential landscapes, locally and afar.
Ned loved to travel to just about anywhere to see bamboo. He visited nurseries, arboreta, botanical gardens, private gardens and the wild to see bamboo around the world. He attended every annual conference of the American Bamboo Society, as well as several European Bamboo Society events. He attended the World Bamboo Congress in Costa Rica and Belgium.
Sadly, Ned was diagnosed with cancer in July 2012, and despite the best efforts from local doctors and immense support from friends and family, Ned passed away in late September, 2012.
After his death, his wife and friends founded a charity named the Ned Jaquith Foundation. This non-profit foundation commemorates the legacy of Ned Jaquith, a consummate horticulturist and nurseryman specialized in bamboo, and who was particularly interested in bamboo research, propagation and art. He also was a guy who loved life, cherished his friends, and knew how to laugh.
The purpose of the Foundation is to encourage and support bamboo research projects increasing the collective knowledge of bamboo. The Foundation supports the goals of the American Bamboo Society (ABS) but is a separate working body, administered by an advisory committee. Grant funding is provided to students and researchers who wish to work within the field of bamboo, focused on such issues as botanical identification, wild and domestic collection, genetic preservation, propagation techniques, bamboo art and bamboo-related environmental concerns (i.e. habitat restoration, etc.). The Foundation has non-profit status, allowing individuals, commercial businesses and other societies & organizations to give donations as United States tax-deductible contributions. For more information about the grant application process and the grants that have been awarded, please see the website, www.nedjaquithfoundation.org
Ned was truly a great friend of bamboo, and to anyone who loved bamboo. He generously shared his knowledge and his plants. To honor Ned, Mexican bamboo specialist Eduardo Ruiz-Sanchez named a newly discovered Mexican species after him; Chusquea nedjaquithii. <Phytotaxa 184 (1) 2014>
He was a true pioneer in bamboo in the United States, and he is genuinely missed. He lives forever in the Moso grove. His wife, Nancy Oberschmidt is here today to receive his World Bamboo Pioneer Award
Ximena Londoño (1958 - )
Ximena Londoño de la Pava lives in a paradise. The Paradise of Bamboo and Guadua. The place she dreamt of as a child, when she ran free through the coffee plantation and the Guadua stands at the farm La Esmeralda, in the mythic archeological region of Pueblo Tapao in the municipality of Montenegro, Quindío, Colombia.
Her father, Héctor Londoño Convers, one of the founders of the Coffee Growing Committee in the State of Quindío moved his family, made up by his wife Sofia de la Pava de Londoño and their children, from Cali to this farm in 1960. Her contact with the farmland in Quindío from such a young age marked her life and made her aware of the subject of agriculture and of Guadua.
Ximena Londoño graduated as an agricultural engineer from the National University of Colombia, campus of Palmira, specialist in the taxonomic botany of the American bamboos, with emphasis on the Guadua genus. She has created a small thematic park in one part of her grandparent´s farm that has no equal in Latin America because of the exuberance and beauty of nature that is highlighted here by this giant grass, Guadua.
Her graduation thesis as a candidate to agronomic engineering at Universidad Nacional de Colombia was a comparative study of the plants associated to the Guadua stands of Valle del Cauca and Quindío. With the degree in her hand, she travelled to the Amazons to work in a Colombo-Dutch project to incorporate Guadua in the daily activities of the settlers of that region: as fuel, as a means to build housing, rural infrastructure etc., contributing thus to counter arrest the logging of the jungle and the expansion of the agricultural frontier.
From that time onwards, Ximena emerged as one of the most serious scholars of Guadua in the country. She travelled to Washington D.C., where she devoted herself to studying the botanical characteristics of the Guadua genus at the Smithsonian Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas R. Soderstrom (World Bamboo Pioneer 2015), a world expert in the taxonomy of the Bambusoideae. She was awarded several research scholarships from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, the American Bamboo Society, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the International Timber Organization, and Colciencias among others, which allowed her to do botanical work in several Latin American countries, like Brazil, Guyana, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, and to advance in the taxonomic knowledge of the American bamboos. She has been an independent researcher since then, living a very active life around the botanical research of bamboo.
Ximena Londoño has several scientific publications to her name, among which we can highlight American Bamboos, by Judziewicz, Clark, Londoño & Stern, a book edited by the Smithsonian Press. And, what is most important, she has described for science more than fifty species of Neotropical bamboos. In 1988 she started the largest collection of bamboos in Colombia that includes 75 species from Asia and America. This collection is located at the El Bambusal farm, a portion of the old La Esmeralda farm, inherited from her mother Sofía de la Pava de Londoño.
In 2001 at El Bambusal she started a process of change going from conventional agriculture to organic agriculture. Today, in this location, paradise is deployed. The Paradise of Bamboo and Guadua, perhaps the loveliest corner in Quindío, with a thematic park that charms and enthralls.
Together with a group of friends, Ximena established the Colombian Bamboo Society, a non-profit organization she leads and chairs since 1998. She is also the chair of the Colombian Committee for the Standardization of Bamboo-Guadua at ICONTEC and member of the international Bamboo Phylogeny Group led by Dr. Lynn G. Clark.
This woman dedicated to bamboo has received multiple awards and recognitions. Among which it´s worthwhile to highlight the one granted in 2011 as the Woman of Bamboo in Latin America, awarded by the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), and the one received from the Higher University Council of Universidad Nacional de Colombia for her outstanding achievements in research, granted in 2017.
At El Bambusal, Ximena Londoño has reenacted life in a different way, in fantastic rows and aisles of Guadua, in a swamp that is out of this world, where the spirit of bamboo sways, hanging from the branches of the Guadua plants, while water gurgles from earth attracted by this giant and quaternary grass that summons hundreds of birds and dozens of mammals and reptiles who have come back to their ancient homestead.
<This text is by Miguel Angel Rojas, from Rojas, M.A. 2017. La Mujer del Bambú. En Así Somos, Comfenalco Quindío, Ed. 115. Pp. 48-49>
We are thrilled to have Ximena with us here today to accept her Award!
Rafael Guillaumin Fentanes (1926–2013)
Rafael Guillaumin was the son of a coffee family in Huatusco, Veracruz. In the early 1990’s he went looking for alternative crops and discovered bamboo. After working for over 50 years in the coffee sector, mainly as an exporter, he ventured into the manufacturing of lime and tourism due to the declining price of coffee. His business activities also included livestock, sugar cane, and eco-tourism activities. He served as an advisor of the Mexican Association of Coffee Exporters, as a member of the National Confederation of Coffee Producers, was Former President of the Produce Foundation Veracruz, A.C., General Director of Cordial Tourism (Hotel Los Cocuyos) Regional Councilor of INIFAP, Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Veracruzan Council of Bamboo Acknowledgments and subsequently he founded Bambuver.
Although Rafael was aware of bamboo as an ancestral product, in 1996 he discovered new uses of bamboo in other countries and saw it as a viable option to develop an agroforestry and commercial interest, which could contribute to the improvement of the environment, via reforestation.
Given this perspective, he had the vision of promoting the cultivation of bamboo throughout Mexico and established the company Bambuver AC, in 2000. The company grew strong, and to date, is dedicated to the promotion of the cultivation of bamboo for forestry, for construction purposes, for added value via technology and industrialization, and more recently as biomass for alternative energy.
Rafael Guillaumin spent 12 years traveling to many countries to learn all he could about bamboo cultivation, propagation, harvesting, and manufacturing. Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil and India, showed him adaptable technologies, appropriate species, and best management practices. It was a true exchange. He shared his personal knowledge and motivated farmers in the field to also work in bamboo. He planted nearly three million plants of different varieties in states such as Veracruz, Chiapas, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tabasco, Jalisco and Colima, among others.
More than a farmer, Rafael was a pioneer in industry. His work and projects generated demand for bamboo, and he developed markets and useful products for various applications. For all these reasons, Rafael Guillaumin Fentanes won the 2009 National Award for Forest Merit, in the non-timber forest category, convened by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, through the National Forestry Commission, delivered at the inaugural ceremony of the Forest Expo 2009 in Mexico City. Later, in the month of November of that same year, his work was recognized by the Colombian Bamboo Society, within the framework of the II Congress of Bamboo and Guadua, held in Armenia Colombia.
During the following years, Rafael Guillaumin continued his work promoting the culture of bamboo. In the year of 2010, he had the opportunity to participate in the construction project of the dome to house the commemorative stele of the 100 years of existence of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Throughout his career, he worked tirelessly to publicize bamboo in prestigious publications such as: Expansión, Content, El Financiero, La Jornada, Leading Magazine, among others. Thanks to his teachings and encouragement, Bambuver collaborators have been speakers at national and international events. He was a true mentor and friend of all who were interested in bamboo. He collaborated with many organizations and institutions, too, including Conacyt (2000 Bamboo Technology And Research Center), Conafor (2004 Alternative National Integral Development Of Bamboo), Conofovi (2002, Proposal For The Development Of A Methodology For The Construction Of Houses Using Bamboo As A Raw Material), Veracruz Bamboo Council, Veracruz University, UNAM (2001), Technological Institute of Orizaba (2002), DMCYT University of Guadalajara (2003), UAM-UNIT Xochilmilco, College of Postgraduates (2002 Forest Program), UNCADER, CRUO-UACH Autonomous University of Chapingo, Institute of Electrical Investigations, TEZCAPIF AC Alternative Therapeutic and Pedagogical Environmental Training Center, and many others
One of Rafael’s main objectives via Bambuver was always social actions. From different places in the marginalized areas, groups came to Bambuver to request information, receive instruction, and sometimes Rafael went to the localities to give the necessary training.
For example, a group of peasants of the Sierra de San Luis Potosí, a group of peasants of the Sierra de Puebla, and, on the coast of Chiapas, more than 20 communities adopted the planting of bamboo as an element of protection against natural disasters, as a result of the ravages caused by Hurricane Stan in 2005. He taught five courses in the mountains of Totonacapan in Veracruz. His work is very evident in the region around Huatusco, where producers, craftsmen and workers have joined Bambuver AC to be trained and make a living. Just drive into the community of Huatusco, and you will see bamboo everywhere, thanks to Rafael!
The main objective of Rafael Guillaumin and Bambuver AC has not been the economic one. The main objective has been to make a difference; a difference in the community and the region and the state. It has managed to form an organization today that has an industrial unit producing raw materials for construction, decoration and the furniture industry, and has become a supplier of bamboo nursery plants for the development of commercial and ornamental plantations throughout the entire country.
Reuters Published November 4, 2004, The Bamboo Steel Vegetable. International Publication, Entrepreneur Magazine Vol.2 No.001
Guillaumin Fentanes, R., 1999. Programs of Integral Development of Bamboo, Bambuver A.C.
Guillaumin Fentanes R., 2001. The Bamboo and its expectations. Agroentorno No. 26.29.
Guillaumin Fentanes R., 1999. Bamboo Vegetable Steel. Expansion No. 778: 95 El Financiero. March 11, 1999. Mexico, towards the production of bamboo sliver to make paper. The Financial.
May 12, 1999. A Natural Business. Reform.
September 20, 1999. Bamboo, in search of its commercialization. Reportage. Opinion, Xalapa section.
Assistance to International Congresses:
World Bamboo Congress, in Costa Rica, 1998, World Bamboo Congress in India, 2004, International Bamboo Congress, Manizales Colombia, 2004.
Rafael Guillaumin has been a man of work and conviction, no doubt, and at the end of his years, the greatest of his satisfactions and to which he dedicated passion and dedication, was the bamboo, which is why we remember him with such affection and admiration. He was known by his infinity of friends or collaborators as Don Rafael, Rafa, or Fallo. This singular man dedicated the best part of his life to plant bamboo, and in return, reaped joy, enthusiasm, and spiritual strength which overshadowed his natural physical deterioration. He harvested the recognition of thousands of visitors to his space which he alone transformed into bamboo forests.
His son, Maurico Guillaumin, (Chair of the 11WBC Mexico National Organizing Committee) says this about his father:
“ It is very natural to praise his memory as a pioneer in the country. I admire him, not for the absence of failures and failures, but for having converted all of them; in experience he has bequeathed us the knowledge that is acquired with the courage to try and with the humility to accept the error and correct it, and the generosity, for sharing it. He said it many times in his participation in forums, congresses, conferences or talks "I do not come to teach them, because I know little. I will feel very satisfied if in the end, I managed to sow in you, the interest to learn.” I am left with the desire to turn their stems <bamboo> into paper, into food, into energy. He left me in charge, yes. With what was without doubt, it was with the satisfaction of having sown the seed of what sooner rather than later, will become lungs that oxygenate our environment and make it more beautiful: Bamboo Forests.”
Rafael Guillaumin was like the bamboo, "The strong winds, perhaps doubled, but never broke."
Mexico’s first World Bamboo Pioneer! His son Mauricio is here today to accept his father’s Award.