Following in the footsteps of Brother Marie-Victorin, Henry Teuscher and Pierre Bourque, Mr. André Bouchard (1946 – 2010) was the man responsible for the resurgence and present credibility of the Jardin botanique’s research mission, now known across the world, as evidenced by the opening of the Jardin botanique’s Biodiversity Centre in spring 2011.
Born in 1946 in Montréal, André Bouchard was a key figure in the history of the Jardin botanique de Montréal and is considered one of Québec’s greatest scientists.
A researcher nicknamed the “Brother Marie-Victorin of Newfoundland”
Bouchard, who held a doctorate in conservation of natural resources from Cornell University, was a specialist in the ecology of plant and landscape communities, land use, integrated vegetation management and the evolution of agricultural/forestry and suburban ecosystems. In 1983, André Bouchard and his collaborators at the Jardin botanique and the Université de Montréal created the first list of Québec’s rare vascular plants, published in the Syllogeus collection of the Canadian Museum of Nature.
His internationally recognized research work and large number of scientific publications about the vegetation of southwestern Québec and Newfoundland earned him a Michel Jurdant Award in environmental science from the French Canadian Association for the Advancement of Sciences, as well as his significant contributions to creating the Gros Morne National Park of Canada, which was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
An outstanding contributor to the Jardin botanique de Montréal
André Bouchard was an ecologist, biologist and professor at the department of biological sciences at the Université de Montréal and a researcher at its Plant Biology Research Institute during the last years of his life. He was briefly curator of the Jardin botanique from 1975 to 1996, briefly director of the Jardin botanique following the departure of Pierre Bourque and director of the Plant Biology Research Institute from 2002 to 2006.
An outstanding educator with a gift for bringing people together and exceptional communication dynamics, he led more than 45 students to their master’s and doctorate degrees and became a role model for many generations of young researchers and ecologists.
A hallmark of civic action
Known for his commitment to the preservation of ecosystems, Bouchard gained recognition in 1975 through the foundation of the Society of Activities at the Jardin botanique and Institute (which later became the Friends of the Montréal Botanical Garden in 1991), then through several struggles, including the fight to save the Saraguay forest at the end of the 1970s, which led to the creation of nature parks in Montréal as well as protection of several other natural sites, mainly in southwestern Québec.
As one of six commissioners on the Task Force for the Management of Québec’s Public Forests in 2004, led by Guy Coulombe, he was responsible, among other things, for the report’s central recommendation: ecosystemic management of Québec’s public forests.
He was vice-chair of the board of directors of the Sainte-Justine Hospital (CHU Sainte-Justine), from 1995 to 2004. Beginning in 2006, he sat on the Montréal Heritage Council, of which he was vice chair from 2007 to 2009.
A great love for the Jardin botanique and Brother Marie-Victorin
His last works were about Cuba and Brother Marie–Victorin. He had developed a passion for the country and the Spanish language. Bouchard’s work "The Jardin botanique de Montréal: A Sketch of History” in collaboration with Francine Hoffman, was published in 1998 by Éditions Fides, en 1998, and “Marie-Victorin in Cuba. Correspondence with Brother Léon” was published by Presses de l'Université de Montréal in 2007.
Bouchard died in March 2010.