Maria Teresa de Jesus Gouveia, Carmelita Santoro Bottino, Maria Manuela Mattos Rueda, Maryane Vieira Saisse, Márcia Salgueiro M. T. Wenzel, e Ana Lúcia Duque Alfaia.
Rio De Janeiro Botanic Garden Rersearch Institute
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
In the Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden Research Institute, the environmental interpretation actions have been transmitted through information to the public about natural, cultural and historical aspects found in its arboretum. In 1996 the actions were organized into Projects, maintaining their objectives and respecting the definition of the Environmental Interpretation as the art of communication between the natural, cultural and historical resources of an area and its observer .The Rio de Janeiro Botanic Gardens Research Institute has a new management policy oriented towards the adoption, mainly in its scientific branches, of Programs and Projects which now constitute the Environmental Interpretation Programme. The Programme was introduced in this Botanic Garden, due to the fact that it is located in a metropolitan region with a tourism vocation. Knowing that the visitors usually stay in the arboretum for around two and a half hours, different activities have to be organized into Projects considering its various purposes, target groups, languages and methodologies. The objectives of the Environmental Interpretation Programme of the Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden are :
- To enrich the communication between the natural, cultural and historical resources of the arboretum and its public;
- To improve the quality of visiting;
- To raise awareness about the importance of the conservation of the Botanic Garden, and of the environment as a whole;
- and To provide information on the natural, cultural and historical aspects to other Projects developed within the institution, by means of a language that allows immediate comprehension by the public.
Presently, the Environmental Interpretation Programme is accomplished through four Projects: The Placas Interpretativas Itinerantes (Itinerant Interpretive Signs) Project, which aims to give the visitor identification of the important natural, cultural and historical resources of the Arboretum. In the case of the natural resources, seasonable floristic aspects are sometimes described.
In the first phase of the Project, six elements were selected and described. The description of the botanical elements includes height, basal diameter, flowering and fruiting seasons, economic use, species occurrence and other curious aspects about them. In the description of cultural elements, relevant aspects such as construction date, date of introduction of the work of art in the Arboretum, architectonic value, use, material and authors are included among others. The interpretative signs are itinerant as they are only to be found when an important environmental or historical event relating to those particular elements is taking place.
The next steps in the Projects development will depend on the evaluation, which is conducted through a public opinion poll.
The Visitação Guiada (Guided Visit) Project aims to reach the visitors who are looking for detailed information on the natural, cultural and historical aspects of Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden , within various visiting time ranges. This is accomplished through the use of guided trails. The visitor can either guide himself by means of printed material available, or be oriented by trained guides. At present, the Project counts on two kinds of guides:
- University students of Biology. In the future, students from the Ecological Tourism field will also be participating. These guides are in charge of national and international authorities, personalities and groups with special interests visiting the Garden.
- Meninos do Rio , a group of adolescent guides who, in partnership with the state of Rio de Janeiro, have been especially trained to guide the general public on the points of tourist interests and landmarks.
Up to 1998, about 3,500 visitors were oriented by the University Guides. The Meninos do Rio guides accompanied about 1,800 groups in 1998. The main objective of the Centro de Visitantes (Visitor Centre) Project is to deal directly and indirectly with the public, as it is the visitors gateway to the Botanic Garden. Its basic function is to provide quick and comprehensive information on the natural, cultural and historical resources available on the Arboretum, as well as general information which can promote and enrich the relationship between the public and the Botanic Garden. The Visitor Centre is inside the ancient seat of the Nossa Senhora Conceição da Lagoa sugar-mill, a building with a high architectonic and historical value, dated from 1576, strategically located at the major entrance to the Arboretum. The Data Bank Project promotes the identification and description - in a language adapted to the various audiences - of the natural, cultural and historical important elements of the Arboretum. These data are provided to all projects included in the Environmental Interpretation Programme, and to other institutional projects and sectors of the Botanic Garden.
Through this theme plant biology, existence and conservation importance of plants and of Botanic Gardens were some of the subjects developed. The concepts developed were germination and floristic diversity.
Copyright 1999 NBI