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Education E-update

Volume 5 Number 9 - April 2010

BGCI Education Team

Education E-update: The latest in plant conservation education news from BGCI

Celebrate Plant Conservation Day!

Here at BGCI, we look forward to celebrating Plant Conservation Day each year on May 18. Sponsored by BGCI and the Association for Zoological Horticulture, Plant Conservation Day is now celebrated at botanic gardens and zoos around the world. Celebrations such as Plant Conservation Day and the International Year of Biodiversity are great ways to attract new visitors to your garden and promote a conservation message. Send us information about your Plant Conservation Day celebration, and we'll include your stories in the next issue of Education E-update.

Best wishes,
The BGCI Education Team (for general education enquiries to BGCI) (for Education E-update enquiries)

Education News From Around the World

New PhD opportunity focusing on botanic gardens: The Department of Geography at Royal Holloway University of London has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award. This award will support a three-year PhD project commencing in September 2010. The title of the PhD is 'The new art of the botanic garden: Landscape design in an age of biodiversity conservation, climate change and cultural diversity' and will be supervised by Professor David Gilbert at Royal Holloway and Julia Willison, Director of Education at BGCI.  The central focus of the project is the landscape design of recent and proposed botanic gardens, focusing particularly on those designed in the past 30 years. It concerns the interface between landscape aesthetics and issues raised by environmental and cultural change. The award will cover fees and an annual maintenance grant of at least £15,790 to suitably qualified candidates. Visit the Royal Holloway University website for more information.

Change of dates for International Diploma Course in Botanic Garden Education: Due to a tightening of UK visa entry requirements, BGCI and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew have rescheduled the dates of the International Diploma Course in Botanic Garden Education. The course will now run from 14th March-15th April 2011. In order to meet the new requirements, Kew is applying for accreditation as a provider of higher education courses. Scholarships will still be available for delegates from Commonwealth countries.

BGCI/Fairchild Challenge Global Option finalists announced: In the countdown to Plant Conservation Day on May 18, the top five finalists of the BGCI/Fairchild Challenge Global Option have been announced. Click here to see the entries and read the accompanying text.

Qur'anic garden exhibit opens at Kew: The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has opened a new exhibition featuring plants and herbarium specimens from the Qur'anic Garden in Doha, Qatar. Running until 5 May, the exhibition highlights the botanical references in the Qur'an and explains them in modern scientific terms. The Qur'anic Garden and this exhibition at Kew aim to increase global awareness of the plants mentioned in the Holy Qur'an and to promote understanding between cultures through plants and gardens.

'Terra Botanica' theme park opens: The first theme park in Europe devoted to plant life has opened in France. 'Terra Botanica' contains four themed areas. 'Coveted Plants' crosses continents in the 18th century in search of spices, plants and exotic territories. 'Generous Plants' explores the heritage of the Anjou area where the park is situated and examines the different roles plants play in everyday life. 'Mysterious Plants' investigates plant DNA, reproduction, and pollination. 'Tamed Plants' includes a glasshouse replicating various climates to show how plants evolve and adapt.

What's new at your botanic garden? Send us the latest news from your botanic garden or education site, and we'll include it in an upcoming issue of Education E-update.

PlantEd Poll

It's quick and fun! Read this month's poll question and click on your response. We'll publish the results in the next Education E-update!

This month's poll: Does your botanic garden promote programmes and its mission through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter? Click on a response below to cast your vote!

Yes, we use social networking sites.

No, we do not use social networking sites.

Last month, we asked whether your botanic garden includes a children's garden designed specifically for younger visitors. Here's what you said!

Tools You Can Use

Access to biodiversity articles from Nature: To mark the International Year of Biodiversity, Nature Magazine is offering free access to some of its recent articles on biodiversity--a useful resource for those with restricted access to online journals.

Access and benefit sharing information sheet: The Union for Ethical BioTrade has prepared a basic information sheet on access and benefit sharing (ABS) to support the International Year of Biodiversity. The objective of the two-page document is to provide a brief, simple explanation of the relevance and main principles of ABS to organisations working with biodiversity.

European Science Centres and Museums conference: The European Network of Science Centres and Museums will hold their Annual Conference 3-5 June in Dortmund, Germany. The conference will welcome more than 800 science centre and museum professionals from around the world. For more information, visit the conference website.

New report on informal science education: 'Making science matter: Collaborations between informal science education organisations and schools' is a new, downloadable report from the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE).

PollinatorLIVE: Geared toward upper primary students, 'PollinatorLIVE' is new online series of live interactive webcasts, web seminars, and satellite field trips about pollinators, gardening, and conservation.

15 MSc Scholarships available for African students: The Education for Sustainability Programme at London South Bank University has been awarded another 15 scholarship places this year. They are looking for candidates from Commonwealth States in East and Southern Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. To apply for this award, visit the programme website and click onto the Africa Scholarship tab. The closing date is 17th May.

What's in your education toolbox? Send us your most valuable tools or resources, and we'll include them in an upcoming issue of Education E-update.


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Volume 5, Issue 9

In the Spotlight

This month, we asked some of E-update's readers from around the world to tell us about the newest education programmes at their botanic gardens. Here's a round-up of some of the newest plant-based education efforts taking place around the globe. We hope these programmes inspire you to create new education offerings at your botanic garden or education site.

Conservatoire et Jardins Botaniques de Nancy (France): A children's book festival about nature and science will take place June 4, 5 and 6. Open to children and families of all ages, the event is designed to offer an attractive and stimulating programme to promote science and nature literacy, to help children and families discover the garden, and to highlight the importance of plants and nature through books. The weekend event will include classes, storytelling, live performance, readings by authors, and science workshops.

Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem (Germany): BGBM's newest and very successful education programme entitled 'Fruits of the Tropics' is run in cooperation with the German Development Service DED and the Centre for Developmental Education and Information EPIZ. This primary school programme is based on concepts of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Learning. Participants in our programme learn about the connections between everyday life and conditions of employment related to crop cultivation, plants and ecology, conventional and fair trade, as well as product and food.

University of Oxford Botanic Garden (UK): In 'Planet Botanic,' Key Stage 2 pupils are transformed into Green Inspectors to see how 'green' the botanic garden really is. The session is a fun introduction on how to lower carbon emissions and live more sustainability. It is full of ideas for pupils to take back to school and help make the world a greener place.

Royal Botanical Gardens (Canada): Royal Botanical Gardens is taking the lead in bringing together organisations from various sectors (including child and youth development, education, health, planning, community development and the environment) to collaborate on building capacity to get more children outdoors. This Ontario-wide 'Back to Nature Network' is part of the broader global response to what author Richard Louv termed 'nature-deficit disorder' in his book Last Child in the Woods. More than 30 organisations are already part of the emerging network.


What We're Reading


Young Children and the Environment: Early Education for Sustainability, edited by Julie M. Davis. Young Children and the Environment examines how early education can contribute to sustainable living. The text is designed to promote education for sustainability from birth to 8 years and highlights initiatives such as 'Sustainable Schools', 'Child Friendly Cities', and 'Health Promoting Schools.' Click on the image above to buy this book from BGCI's Amazon bookstore.


And finally...

If you can't get enough of your real-life botanic garden, fans of the Facebook game Farmville can now build their own 'botanic garden.' In recent weeks, game players have been able to buy and trade structural beams, irrigation pipes, trellises, and glass panes, all in the quest to build a botanic garden greenhouse. While this virtual botanic garden may not quite reflect the complexity and importance of today's botanic garden efforts in education, horticulture and conservation, we are pleased (and amused) that botanic gardens have entered the online gaming universe!


Celebrate Plant Conservation Day!

Plant Conservation Day is May 18. How will your garden be celebrating? Visit the Plant Conservation Day website for ideas to help organise your celebration.


Fourth Global Botanic Garden Congress

Join hundreds of botanic garden staff in Dublin, Ireland, for the Fourth Global Botanic Gardens Congress from 13-18 June. Hosted by the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin (Ireland), participants from all over the world will present their latest work in plant conservation and education.


Education E-update is a free e-newsletter published monthly by Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

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