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September Speaker: Aloes of Uganda - The makings of a field-guide and the story behind naming a ne

Thomas has spent more than 20 years in sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, community development and humanitarian response work. Presently based in Santa Barbara, he has many years field experience across Sub-Saharan Africa- with significant time in Mozambique, Uganda and Ethiopia. His focal areas are in urban agriculture, food production system design, post-conflict recovery, organic horticulture, agricultural extension, permaculture, natural resource management and livelihoods. He spends much of his spare time in these countries climbing the odd mountain and researching succulent plants, primarily aloe, euphorbia and sansevieria.

Thomas currently works as an agroecology and drought management advisor for global USAID food security programs, and provides technical agricultural support for numerous communities recovering from conflict and disaster. Previously he worked as the Africa Region Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor for Save the Children. In Santa Barbara, he is the co-owner and operator of Cold Spring Aloes, a small botanic garden, succulent plant nursery and award-winning garden design business.

He is the co-founder of African Women Rising, a community-based organization empowering thousands of women in post-war Uganda. He is also founding partner and VP of sourcing and sustainability for Kaibae, a lifestyle company harnessing the nutritional potential of lost crops. For the last 10 years he has also worked as a Strategic Philanthropic Advisor for several private family foundations, helping to guide strategy and investment in a range of program areas including global health, sustainable agriculture and alternative basic education models.

Thomas has a Masters degree in Humanitarian Assistance from the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University (US) and is a 5-time world Frisbee champion. In the last 5 years he has described three new species of aloe from Uganda (Aloe wanalensis, Aloe butiabana and Aloe lukeana), and is a co-author of a Field Guide to the Aloes of Uganda.

This talk will focus on the 24 aloe taxa found in Uganda and the journeys behind mapping and cataloguing all that is currently known about them. The audience will be led through the development of the recently published Field Guide to the Aloes of Uganda, and will learn some of the details involved in the process of naming a new species.


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