When people think of botanical gardens, if they know their stuff, they think of Kew. Botanical gardens are not just pretty places, they do lots of what you would generally call conservation biology that are increasingly impossible or incompatible with university botanical science. It takes no small number of people to run a garden like Kew, knowledgeable people, skilled people, and even still these people do not make salaries that make other people say, "Wow, there's real money in that science stuff!" In that sense, the staff at Kew are a lot like faculty at university, and clearly their value, the value of Kew and its work are of little value, a low priority, especially when dealing with politicians who have not gotten beyond thinking of gardens as just pretty places (or universities as places for "job training". Some belt tightening is a continuing fact of our present times, but when faced with a massive budget cut, it's not just fat getting cut. You begin to gut the institution, and it's ability to carry out a science mission, especially when it would mean a 20% cut in staffing. A similar event took place at a similar institution in Brooklyn, but it was even more drastic a change, the BBG stopped doing science all together and fired its science staff in toto. A similar personnel cut also took place at the Field Museum of Natural History. Science is pricey, but it isn't a luxury, and unfortunately it isn't at all valued.
Should you wish, you may sign an online petition in support of funding Kew.
15 hours ago in Variety of Life