Wong pitches TV show to mark last botany degree in UK

TV ethnobotanist James Wong is writing a BBC4 programme idea about the last generation of trained botanists in the UK to mark the fact that the last student is due to graduate this year.

Wong, who trained at Kew and the University of Kent, has a master of science in ethnobotany. Tweeting under the name "botanygeek", he said: "I'm writing a BBC4 pitch called The Last Botanists. Any unexpected examples of how the world will be worse off without us?"

The last student enrolled in a pure botany degree in the UK began at the University of Bristol in 2010. In recent years, only the University of Reading also offered a botany degree before it was dropped there in 2007.

HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said: "Botany is a very particular angle of science and it's always a shame when we lose niche areas." He warned that the loss of knowledge could hit innovation.

University of Leicester biology department lecturer Dr Sinead Drea has written an essay on the end of the botany degree. See www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol17/beej-17-2.aspx.

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