We all know the importance of plant-based education. As educators, we pour countless hours and endless energy into delivering top-notch programmes about the vital role plants play in our lives. In this issue, you'll find plenty of examples demonstrating that others are taking notice of the work you are doing! From new visions for education at botanic gardens to publications in environmental education journals to conferences, grants and websites-plant-based education is as strong as ever! Tell us about your successes in plant-based education, and we'll include them in the next issue of Education E-update.
The BGCI Education Team
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Education News from Around the World
New vision for the University of Latvia Botanic Garden dawning: Five teams of architects from five European countries participated in a four-day competition in Riga at the end of September to develop a visual concept for the botanic garden. Education will be one of the main activities of the garden and, for this reason, Julia Willison, BGCI's Head of Education, was invited to brief the architectural teams about the importance of education in botanic gardens and possible future trends. Several educators in botanic gardens and designers around the globe contributed case studies to the presentation, which will help create a learning environment for the University of Latvia Botanic Garden. You can learn more about the planning for the University of Latvia Botanic Garden, including a video interview with the Garden directors, on the BGCI website.
Plant-based education in Green Teacher: In addition to its usual quality information about environmental education, the summer 2007 issue of Green Teacher has two articles about plant-based education. Jennifer Ceska and Anne Shenk of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (USA) write about their experiences creating an endangered plants network, and another article focuses on growing culturally significant plants for educational purposes.
Upcoming conferences of interest: Expand your professional network and gain new tools and skills at an upcoming conference. Plant-based educators in the UK and Europe are invited to theBotanic Gardens Education Network conference to be held Nov. 7-9 at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. The conference theme is 'Biodiversity or Bust: Making a Difference - the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation'. Educators in the Caribbean and Latin America should consider attending the Third Conference of Caribbean Botanic Gardens for Conservation, 'Conserving the Caribbean Together'. The conference will take place March 24-28, 2008, at the Cuban National Botanic Garden.
Denver Botanic Gardens receives grant for education: Denver Botanic Gardens (USA) recently received a $10,000 grant from the Qwest Foundation to support its Cultivation Cruiser, a travelling outreach programme that brings plants, hands-on activities and planting projects to students who otherwise may not be able to visit the Gardens. The new support means that the programme will reach more students than ever before. Teachers choose from seven different programmes, including Ecological Explorations, Sensory Adventures, Plant Detectives, Flower Power, Moldy but Goody, P.S.I.: Plant Science Investigators and Mendel's Madness.
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
2008 International Day for Biodiversity: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity is pleased to announce that the theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) on 22 May 2008 will be 'Biodiversity and Agriculture'. The theme reflects the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity to food security, nutrition and human well-being and the importance of agriculture to biodiversity. The Secretariat has established an Inter-Agency Task Force to help guide preparations and celebration of IBD in 2008. Outreach materials including a booklet on biodiversity and agriculture, a poster and a video are being planned for a release in early 2008 for incorporation into national and local plans for IBD celebrations. Additionally, the Secretariat has prepared a booklet reviewing IBD celebrations held in 2007. You can download the booklet from the CBD website.
Planting Science: The Botanical Society of America and theAmerican Society of Plant Biologists have teamed up with educators and science education researchers to create Planting Science. The online education outreach programme involves student teams in designing and conducting plant investigations in the classroom, whilst working throughout the process with online scientist mentors.
International Painting Competition on the Environment: The International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment is organized annually by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer and Nikon. It has been held since 1991 and has received over 190,000 entries from children in over 100 countries. This year's competition will focus on climate change. The children's paintings can focus on concrete actions such as using renewable energy, introducing energy saving light bulbs at home, sharing vehicles and using public transport, or planting trees. The competition will run until 15 January 2008. Visit the UNEP website for full details.
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 the Jardin Botanique de la Ville de Lyon (France). If you would like to be 'In the Spotlight', simply send us an email.
While much has been written about the 300th anniversary of the birth of Linnaeus this year, the Jardin Botanique de la Ville de Lyon is also paying tribute to another famed naturalist born in the same year, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, with a special celebration and series of exhibits titled 'Explorer and Classer: La Quete Scientifique' ('To Explore and Classify: The Scientific Quest'). The exhibits and events will focus on the practice of science, with special attention paid to the binomial system of classification. Questions such as "How and why is the natural world classified?" and "How is a species named?" will be explored through a botanic garden trail with five learning stations: the diversity of life; discovering and collecting; describing and naming; classifying; and the reasons for classification. In addition to the discovery trail and related education programmes for children and adults, plays, films and photographs will help visitors better understand scientific classification.
In addition to special exhibits, the Jardin Botanique features regular school programmes for children, changing 'plants of the week', and a collection of 15,000 different plant species over eight hectares of gardens. For more information about programmes at the Jardin Botanique de la Ville de Lyon, visit the Garden's website.
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