From 7-11 September 1996, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, USA, welcomed over 220 people from 43 countries for the third BGCI International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens. The great diversity of nations, institutions and cultures represented at the Congress highlights the developing awareness of the importance of botanic gardens worldwide for environmental education. The Congress also provided an excellent and stimulating opportunity for global exchange of views and ideas.
During the five days, delegates presented a range of papers, workshops and posters, all of which reflected the four themes of the Congress: Education for Sustainability, Global Village, Urban Horticulture and Botanical Knowledge. From the meeting it was clear that botanic gardens, no matter what their size, have a pivotal role to play in raising public awareness of the need to develop new patterns of behaviour and attitudes towards the environment. Their involvement was seen as crucial in the implementation of international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and global initiatives such as Agenda 21.
Many of the delegates' presentations are contained within this book which, through sharing good practice and thinking, aims to increase the effectiveness and profile of botanic gardens in environmental education. These proceedings serve to illustrate the importance of communication and collaboration among botanic gardens at an international level. It is hoped they will encourage botanic gardens to develop new programmes and initiatives for environmental education.
Judith D. Zuk
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Peter Wyse Jackson
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