Friends of The Lae Botanic Gardens (FOLBG) form an important association of like-minded people who are committed to advancing the National Botanic Gardens (LAE) for future generations. Through collaboration between community, business and government the Program aims to achieve ongoing access to the natural and diverse environment within the gardens for recreation, education and research.
The National Botanic Garden is seen as a public asset with enormous potential that has strong support from the community, non-government organisations and public authorities.
The idea to involve local businesses to take part in the Advancement Program came from the business houses themselves via communication with PNGFRI management. The impetus for the program was provided by Swire Shipping (Lae branch) in 2014; with their intention being to assist the Gardens in improving to a suitable state to be able re-open and serve their rightful purpose.
The Swire Shipping team met with the PNGFRI management and slowly both parties took on board the idea. Swire Shipping took on the responsibility of circulating the idea to other business houses in their networks and further involved the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) who have also played a supportive role in the program.
In early 2015, a new arrival in Lae came on board as Volunteer Program Manager. This Program Manager had significant experience in similar community and infrastructure development projects in Australia and internationally.
Our Program Manager has worked tirelessly as a volunteer throughout 2015 to bring the Advancement Program to life, providing an important link between Forest Research Institute staff, FOLBG and businesses in Lae and internationally, providing expertise, connections and support at all levels. The program has managed to secure approximately K700, 000 in sponsorship through in kind donations and services and the gardens was opened to the public on November 6th, 2015 for the first time in over a decade.
The interest from the business houses coming on board to support the Advancement Program has been overwhelming and Friends of the Lae Botanic Gardens hopes to continue this momentum in 2016.