This year's annual Johnstone Lecture will focus on Aloe plants in Africa, and their importance both to people and to ecosystems. Native aloe species not only produce valuable medicinal sap, but can also be used to help restore degraded grasslands in Kenya. Elizabeth King received her Masters and PhD from UC Davis, and has been living or working in Kenya for the last 18 years, where she studies plant conservation and restoration ecology, and works with rural communities to rehabilitate damaged landscapes. She describes her career as combining ecological and social perspectives to help strengthen the resilience of people and ecosystems in African drylands. Elizabeth is now an assistant professor at UGA's Odum School of Ecology and Warnell School of Forestry.
The Johnstone Lecture, sponsored by FRIENDS of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, was named in honor of the State Botanical Garden's first director, Dr. Francis E. Johnstone, Jr. In December 1967, Dr. Johnstone first proposed the idea of a botanical garden to the University of Georgia's Campus Planning and Improvement Committee. The 2012 Johnstone Lecture is being held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebration of the University of Georgia's African Studies Institute.