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Mexico & Banderas Bay Area News 

Longwood Gardens Grad Conducts Field Study at VBG

February 05, 2020

(L-R) Robert Price, Vallarta Botanical Garden (VBG) Founder & Curator; Leonardo Campos, VBG Staff Biologist; Neil Gerlowski, VBG Executive Director; Emrys Stromberg, VBG Volunteer
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - A recent graduate of the Longwood Gardens Professional Horticulture Program (2019), Emrys Stromberg believes that everybody should follow their passions and pursue their professional goals with gusto.

In this spirit, Emrys has followed a path from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he will be working directly with Neil Gerlowski, Executive Director of the Jardín Botánico de Vallarta (Vallarta Botanical Garden) and Longwood Fellow (2018).

Emrys' interest is in a field of study called ethnobotany, which, broadly speaking, examines the inter- relationship between people and plants. During his time in the Professional Horticulture Program (PHP) at Longwood Gardens, Emrys was able to reach out and meet professionals who are doing exceptional work within the fields of horticulture and botany.

"In addition to the work/study aspect of the PHP program, I was able to connect the study of horticulture to a personal and specific interest; I was able to travel, and attend conferences and connect with people around the world who were doing work that was in line with my objectives," said Stromberg.

One of these connections was with Longwood Fellow Neil Gerlowski who helped open the door for Emrys to explore an international field placement.

During his time in Mexico, Stromberg will work on a research project developed after long-distance research about the Vallarta Botanical Garden. "I had an idea for a project that could bear benefits not only to my career, but to others, as it is important for me to give back to communities," he stated.

The main foci of the project regard culinary and medicinal use of native Mexican flora by the Wixaritari indigenous peoples of Central Western Mexico. It is Emrys' hope that through this project people will become more aware of the inherent value in conservation of both nature and cultural knowledge.

The trajectory of the project will be February 3 – May 11, 2020. Emrys is excited to be working with the staff of the Vallarta Botanical Garden and hopes that the Puerto Vallarta community will be equally as excited as the project develops. There are plans to present the results of the research in the form of articles, social media posts, and live presentations, both within Mexico and abroad. So stay tuned for news of this budding new initiative.


Located 30 minutes south of Old Town at Km. 24 on Highway 200, Vallarta Botanical Gardens offer something to keep every age group happy; from a Rose Garden for the romantic to jungle trails for the adventurous and a Carnivorous Plants area for the younger generation! The Botanical Gardens' vibrant and elegant settings also offer the perfect venue for weddings and special occasions. For more information, call (322) 223-6182 or visit vbgardens.org.

Click HERE to learn more about Vallarta Botanical Gardens.