Today, we know that Hong Kong boasts more than 5,940 marine species, 3,300 species of plants, 2,500 species of moths, 550 species of birds, 240 species of butterflies and 190 species of freshwater fishes. Today, we also know the specific characteristics of a valley where the city’s only native red camellia can be found; the breeding environment best suited for a thumb-sized tree frog. Where wild boars roam in a city that never sleeps; the species of birds perched on lamp posts, crooning before dusk…
It all began in 1816, when a naval surgeon named Clarke Abel set foot on Hong Kong Island. Starting from his first account of ferns and flowers, naturalists after him continued to discover, observe, document, classify, and name every natural object they found. Furthermore, they delved into understanding Hong Kong’s ecology and their relationship with us.
Behind every statistic and discovery of our knowledge today lies the tireless efforts of countless naturalists. While some take science as a profession, many take the study of nature as a life-long passion. The more we uncover, the more we realise the remarkable contributions by these "amateur naturalists", and their significant roles in forming Hong Kong’s natural history.
Curated by Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre, this exhibition is the first extensive survey on the history of Hong Kong’s amateur naturalists, presenting to you a group of unsung heroes in natural history and their unique stories in Hong Kong. Through their stories, we are able to peer into a progression in the study of Hong Kong’s natural history, and glimpse into the mysteries of Hong Kong's nature. At the end of the exhibition, we will introduce 21 contemporary amateur naturalists, each bearing the same curiosity and passion for nature. Whether following the footsteps of our predecessors, or charting their own imaginative paths, these individuals continue to discover, study, and conserve Hong Kong’s ecology.
From the past to the present, from them to us, our knowledge accumulated today is not through passive inheritance, but by active exchanges and bridging connections. We are all connectors, intertwined in this wide network of the natural world.
Natural History noun
UK /ˌnætʃ.ər.əl ˈhɪs.tər.i/ US /ˌnætʃ.ɚ.əl ˈhɪs.t̬ɚ.i/
The study of plants, animals, rocks etc; an account of the plant and animal life of a particular place.
The etymology of the term originated from Latin, meaning to describe, explore, study, and systematically document nature, rather than "the history of nature". The study of natural history dates back many centuries, while earlier definitions refer to the study of all things in nature, including medicine, astronomy, and the like. It is also regarded as the basis of modern natural sciences such as biology, ecology, and geology.
UK /ˈnætʃ.ər.əl.ɪst/ US /ˈnætʃ.ɚ.əl.ɪst
A person who studies and knows a lot about animals, plants, birds and other living things.
Amateur Naturalist noun
UK /ˈæm.ə.tərˈnætʃrəlɪst/ US /ˈæm.ə.tʃɚˈnætʃrəlɪst/
A non-professional scientist or a person with no formal training who engages and practices in the study of natural history.
28 amateur naturalists and their stories,
over 100 exhibits...
Curators | Joanne Cheng, Angela Chan
Project Management | Angela Chan
Lead Researchers | Maxime Decaudin, Chun-see Tsao
Researchers | Marcus Yee*, Rachel Chan, Karine Leung*,
Rachel Ma*, Sabrina Young*, Trista Zhang*
Interview | Tin Lok Wong*
Videographers | Andrew Lam, Anne Chan*
Helpers | Anne Chan*, Thomas Chow*, Ray Chu, Hugo Du, Helen Lo
Illustrators | Panny Kwan
Graphic Editing | Liz Kwan
Translators | Simon Shum*, Victoria Wong
Exhibition Design | KaCaMa Design Lab
Online Exhibition Design | Wixexpert.HK
*HKU student interns
Click on the image to read more.
Apr 8, 2021
Hong Kong owes much of its understanding of its flora and fauna to amateur naturalists
Hong Kong, a bustling city whose residents work some of the longest hours in the world, owes much of its understanding of its plants and animals to those who have studied them for fun, off the clock.
South China Morning Post