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The exhibition is jointly organised by Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre and the Hong Kong Science Museum, and is part of the HK SciFest 2021.

Date: 19 Mar, 2021 - 14 Apr, 2021

Online exhibition coming soon...

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Rerun at The University of Hong Kong Libraries

Date: 8/10 - 10/11/2021
Venue: HKU Main Library 2/F

Exhibition Introduction


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. Further, they delved into understanding the intricate network of the flora and fauna, the ecology of Hong Kong, and their relationship between 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 beautiful mystery 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 of 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.

Naturalist noun

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.


Five sections​, 28 amateur naturalists and their stories, over 100 exhibits... 

Exhibition Production Team

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


*HKU student interns


Media Exposures

Click the photo to view full paragraph.


Mar 26, 2021

Hong Kong's Plant Story 1

Chinese only

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Ming Pao Weekly

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Apr 8, 2021

Ex-taxidermist Li Kin Man

Chinese Only

Screenshot 2021-05-26 at 5.36.23 PM.png


Ming Pao Weekly

Apr 1, 2021

Hong Kong's Plant Story 2

Chinese only

Screenshot 2021-05-26 at 5.36.23 PM.png


Ming Pao Weekly

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Apr 14, 2021

Embroidery artist Sandy Lam

Chinese only



Ming Pao

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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.

Click here to read

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Post magazine

South China Morning Post


Content from the current exhibition are partially sourced from the homonymous exhibition in 2020, presented by Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre and guest co-curator Maxime Decaudin. The centre thanks Maxime Decaudin for his time and contributions in laying the foundation for the current exhibition.

We would also like to thank the Environmental Protection Department and the University of Hong Kong for providing support in the curation and production of this exhibition.

The centre would like to give sincere thanks to the following professionals, interviewees, and institutions for their generous contributions in research data and expertise, as well as items loaned for display in this exhibition.

Wing Tsui, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
Prof. Mark Nesbitt, Economic Botany Collection of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
Bonny Chan, Fountain of Love and Life, Canada
Hilda Mak and Hina Yeung, Hong Kong Museum of Art
Andy Brown, Dr. Gunter Fischer, Dr. Stephan Gale, Dr. Jinlong Zhang, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Julia Buckley, Katherine Harrington and Trishya Long, Library, Art, and Archives of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, UK
Patrick Chan and the old boys, Saint Louis School, Hong Kong
Dr. Petra Bach and Dr. Haz Cheung, Stephen Hui Geological Museum, HKU
Zhang Xiumei, Taiwan Herborist Culture and Art Studio
Jody Beenk, Iris Chan, Michael Cheng, The University of Hong Kong Libraries
Christopher Mattison, University Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong

Chung Hwa Book Company, Hong Kong Bat Radar, Hong Kong Herbarium, Hong Kong Wetland Park, Public Records Office, Government Records Service, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Library

Karen Barretto, Ruy Barretto, Dr. Lawrence Chau, Dr. Phillip Cribb, Prof. Stephen Davies, Prof. Fa-ti Fan, Dr. Benoit Guénard, Dr. Billy Hau, Dr. Michael Lau, James Leung, Graham Reels, Gloria Siu, Dr. Sung Yik Hei, Dr. Alicia Weisberg-Roberts, Jason Wordie

Christophe Barthélemy, Peter Chan, Cheung Ho Lam, Pamela Cheung, Chio Hio Tong, Colin Chiu, Laurel Chor, Berry Chu, Robert Ferguson, Adam Francis, Human Ip, Matthew Kwan, Alan Kwok, Lam Chiu Ying, Sandy Lam, Lawrance Lau, Lawman Law, Li Kin Man, Parry Ling, Liu Ka-shiang, Pang Yuk Man, Ada Tai, Amanda Yik

Lastly, we are grateful to everyone who has contributed time and effort into the understanding and conservation of nature.

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