What's happening News Trustee of Marks Hall is appointed to Board of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Lord Gardiner, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced that Michael Lear is to become a Trustee of the RBG Kew as well as being a Trustee of Marks Hall Estate. The Board of Trustees at Kew number twelve members and each have experience in a relevant area for the purposes of governance of the leading botanic garden in the world which is also a world Heritage Site, inscribed by UNESCO. Michael’s portfolio is of horticulture, landscape and architecture. He is Director of Lear Associates Ltd of Oxford, Landscape Architects and Heritage Consultants. Among other roles, he is member of the National Trust’s Specialist Advice Network, an associate member of the NT’s Historic Environment Panel and a member of the Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Trust. Michael and his partner, Beverley Lear devised the Landscape Masterplan for Marks Hall in between 1990 and 1995, when also the European and English Parkland areas were designed. His company works throughout the British Isles. Michael has travelled to study plants in their natural habitats and in 2008, he discovered a forest of Handkerchief Trees, previously unknown to the Chinese authorities, in a remote part of Western Yunnan, near the Tibetan and Burmese borders. Historically the relationship of RBG Kew and Marks Hall is very strong, as Thomas Phillips Price’s bequest was to the nation for the use of Kew. Directors of RBG Kew have either been Trustees or more recently Patrons of Marks Hall, but Michael’s appointment is the first time someone connected with Marks Hall has joined the Board of RBG Kew. All the team at Marks Hall are delighted for Michael and look forward to maintaining the strong bond which exists between Marks Hall and Kew.