They share a first name, a passion for the natural environment and have been instrumental in helping the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens to grow and prosper over the past several decades.
Kevin Stokes and Kevin McDonald are the only two current founding members of the botanic gardens at Heatherbrae and were both heavily involved in establishing the popular facility, which opened to the public in 1986.
Both men attended a meeting back in 1981 where a group of people who believed Newcastle should have its own botanic gardens met and set out to achieve that goal.
"We were worried that Newcastle did not have a botanic gardens where many smaller cities did," Mr McDonald said.
"But it was easier said than done, we had no land and no money."
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Hunter Water stepped in and offered a 133 hectare patch of land adjacent to Grahamstown Dam on a peppercorn lease of $1 a year and from there volunteers worked to establish the gardens, with a focus on the promotion and conservation of native plants - particularly those found in the Hunter region.
"When you look back on it, what a heroic effort that was," Mr McDonald said. "Even though we had land, we still had no money.
"There was no potable water on site, no electricity, no buildings. It was a pretty meagre start."
"It was a fairly degraded spot," Mr Stokes said. "There was quite a lot of weeds we had to contend with - huge amounts of lantana."
Mr McDonald is still amazed at how far the gardens have come relying on volunteers, with about 200 people pitching in to keep the gardens going.
Mr Stokes also pointed out the gardens had no regular government or council funding and had to rely on entry fees, grants, selling nursery plants and proceeds from the cafe to keep its head above water.
They've suffered break-ins, were hit hard by the April 2015 superstorm and had to shut for three months this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
But despite the challenges over the years, the community support of the gardens has not wavered.
Mr Stokes has an interest in the botanical and horticultural side of things, but said it was wonderful to see people enjoy the gardens just as a place to relax, have a picnic or admire the picturesque surroundings.
"I do enjoy the benefits that people get from it," he said.
"We do guided tours occasionally and it's nice to get peoples feedback and see how much they enjoy the overall experience.
"Botanic gardens are places of quiet and solitude and peacefulness."