In many countries around the world, September marks the start of a new school year and thus another busy season for educators at botanic gardens and other plant-based education sites. Check out this month's 'Tools You Can Use' section for some exciting resources relevant to school teachers. We'd love to hear about your resources for teachers and students. How do you work with teachers to promote plant-based education? What are the plant-based education resources you recommend? Send us your resources, and we'll include them in the next issue of Education E-update.
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Education News from Around the World
International Diploma-call for scholarship applicants: The next International Diploma in Botanic Garden Education takes place in September/October 2008. Organised by BGCI and Kew, the course aims to equip participants with skills and strategies to communicate effectively with their varied audiences. Subjects include interpretation principles and practices, lifelong learning strategies, the history and development of education for sustainable development, an overview of learning in botanic gardens, fundraising, marketing, networking and evaluation. BGCI is seeking funding to offer scholarships for the International Diploma course. Applicants must be from developing countries, have proficiency in conversational and written English, and be knowledgeable of appropriate technical terms. Contact BGCI's education department to receive an application form. Deadline for applications is Jan. 31, 2008.
Make your garden a star! Call for video clips: BGCI wants your video clips. We are creating a video to show the world the exciting ways botanic gardens are improving environmental and human conditions. Watch our demo video, and visit the BGCI website for submission details.
Judy Zuk, Brooklyn Botanic Garden President Emeritus, dies: BGCI is sad to record the recent death of Judith D. Zuk at the age of 55 in New York on Sept. 1 following a long illness. Judy will be sadly missed by her friends and colleagues throughout the botanic garden and horticultural communities worldwide. She was a much admired leader and visionary amongst botanic gardens, and a longtime supporter of education in botanic gardens. As President of Brooklyn Botanic Garden (USA) for more than 15 years, Judy grew the garden's programmes in horticulture, education and science, and in 1996 hosted BGCI's Third International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens. BGCI owes a great debt of gratitude to Judy, who gave many years of dedicated support and guidance as a member of its Board of Trustees and as President of its U.S. body, BGCI (U.S.). She will be greatly missed.
'Plants for Life' exhibit opens in Mexico: "Plants for Life," a new exhibition focusing on the importance of plants, plant conservation and the role of Mexican botanic gardens in conserving plants, opened this week in Mexico City. Information about what the general public can do to help is also included in the exhibit. Live plants native to Mexico and local crafts made from plant materials are also on display. The exhibition is sponsored by BGCI, HSBC, and La Asociación Mexicana de Jardines Botánicos.
What's new at your garden or plant-based education site? Send us your news, and we'll include it in an upcoming issue of Education E-update.
Tools You Can Use
Teacher Tube: Teacher Tube is a new online community for sharing instructional videos. The site offers an educationally focused venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. Teacher Tube aims to provide anytime, anywhere professional development with teachers teaching teachers. Teachers can also post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill.
ENO-Environment Online: ENO-Environment Online is a global virtual school and network for sustainable development and environmental awareness. Four environmental themes are studied within a school year on a weekly basis. About 400 schools from 104 countries take part. The ENO programme has been running since 2000. It is coordinated by Pataluoto School and administered by the Department of Education in the city of Joensuu, Finland.
Learning for Sustainability--supporting dialogue, collective action and reflection: The Learning for Sustainability website focuses on sustainability issues such as natural resource management, and provides an online guide for government agency staff, NGOs and other community leaders working to support multi-stakeholder learning processes. The site provides links to key information sources on topics including networking, dialogue, adaptive management, knowledge management and evaluation. A new section highlights resources on social research methods, systems thinking, and action research.
Do you have tools or resources to share with other plant-based educators? Send us your tools, and we'll include them in an upcoming issue of Education E-update.
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In the Spotlight
This month, we shine the spotlight on Paola Sierra Manrique, Environmental Education and Interpretive Programme Coordinator, Bogota Botanic Garden 'José Celestino Mutis' and the National Network of Colombian Botanic Gardens. The interview is excerpted below. You can also read the full interview in English or Spanish.
How did you become involved in plant-based education? I became involved in plant-based education through the Bogota Botanic Garden 'José Celestino Mutis'. Initially I designed and implemented the children's environmental education programme, and then I became involved in projects and programmes aimed at young people and adults. I love this work because botanic gardens are such fascinating places.
What would you say your philosophy is on education and learning? I think that education is a long-term process that never ends. This process enables us to take part, make connections and transform our culture and society. Furthermore, I believe that learning depends to a large extent on the environment in which we live, the experiences we have and the stimulus we receive. For me, it is very important that people learn in a natural and active way in environments that give rise to the construction of knowledge from relationships with other people.
What is your favourite teaching technique? Learning through collaboration, cooperation and direct experience with the plant collection. I like visitors to have worthwhile relationships with science and to promote discovery and investigation during their visit.
What is the one thing you want your audiences to go away knowing? They must know what strategies they can use to care for the environment and how to contribute to sustainable development.
For more information about botanic garden education programmes in Colombia, email Paola Sierra Manrique or visit the Garden's website.
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