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Olympic exhibition: promoting the work of botanic gardens

Volume 6 Number 1 - April 2009

Xiangying Wen

French title: Exposition olympique: la valorisation du travail des jardins botaniques

Spanish title: Exhibición Olímpica: promoviendo el trabajo de los jardines botánicos.



Over 180 million people attended the Olympic Games in Beijing last year.  This international sporting event provided an extraordinary opportunity for botanic gardens to showcase their work to visitors from all over the world.  The World Botanic Garden Exhibition was entitled ‘Homes for Plants. Gardens for Humans’ and was displayed at the Science and Technology Park, close to the Olympic Village, from 1 August to 8 September 2008.  It was co-organised by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), Popular Science Network of Botanic Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Committee.  This article describes the exhibition and its development.

The World Botanic Garden Exhibition began its life in early 2008.  Plans and designs were drawn up and were assiduously developed, refined and implemented by the Exhibition Working Committee during the six months run-up to the Olympics.  This also involved inviting and coordinating botanic gardens to participate in the exhibition and to supply text and photos about their work.  Competition was understandably high and the exhibition was one of just 15 subprojects included within the Beijing Olympic Village Science and Technology Park.

The Beijing Municipal Government Group evaluated all subprojects at the beginning of June.  The World Botanic Garden Exhibition was one of only two subprojects to pass the first project evaluation.  A final evaluation took place at the end of June and the exhibition was very positively acknowledged.  It was officially opened to the public on 1st August 2008.

The aim of the World Botanic Garden Exhibition was to highlight the beauty and the value of plant biodiversity and conservation and research. Other elements of the exhibition included two seed display cabinets, two leaf display cabinets and an interactive plant scent station where visitors could smell different oils and perfumes derived from fragrant plants. Interesting living plants (mainly medicinal plants) were also positioned throughout the area and a very large (5.5m x 7.5m) LCD screen, playing videos, provided by various gardens, was strategically placed to draw visitors in from a distance.

Close to the main exhibition area was the living plants display and exit area.  This provided a welcome open green space where visitors could wander after viewing the exhibit and enjoy the 30 rare and interesting species of plants. An acknowledgement panel was placed at the exit listed the organising institutions and participating parties.

The preparation and delivery of the World Botanic Garden Exhibition involved over eight months of hard work.  Was it worth it?  Although there was no formal evaluation, we were delighted by the response of the many visitors.  The exhibition was open for just nine weeks (to include the Olympics and the Paralympics) but it provided a unique opportunity to engage with people about the critical work of botanic gardens in plant conservation.


Plus de 180 millions de personnes étaient présentes aux Jeux olympiques de Péquin l’année dernière. Cet événement sportif international a représenté pour les jardins botaniques une opportunité extraordinaire de montrer leur travail aux visiteurs du monde entier. L’exposition sur les jardins botaniques, intitulée « Des maisons pour les plantes. Des jardins pour les hommes », a été présentée au Parc des sciences et des technologies, situé à proximité du village olympique, du 1er août au 8 septembre 2008. Elle était co-organisée par le Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), le Jardin botanique de l’Académie chinoise des sciences (ASC) et le Comité municipal des sciences et technologies de Pékin. Cet article décrit l’exposition et ses développements.


Más de 180 millones de personas atendieron los Juegos Olímpicos en Beijing el año pasado. Este evento deportivo internacional representó una extraordinaria oportunidad para que los jardines botánicos mostraran su trabajo a los visitantes de todas partes de del mundo. La exhibición del Jardín Botánico se llamó ‘Casa para las plantas. Jardines para el ser humano’ y fue exhibida en el Parque de la Ciencia y Tecnología, cerca de la villa Olimpica, desde el 1º. de Agosto al 8 de septiembre del 2008. La exposición fue co-organizada por Conservación Internacional de Jardínes botánicos  (BGCI), Jardines Botánicos de la Academia China de Ciencias (CAS) y el Comité de Ciencia y Tecnología del municipio de Beijing. Este artículo describe la exhibición y su desarrollo.

Xiangying Wen
China Projects Officer
South China Botanical Garden
723 Xingke Rd. Tianhe District
Guangdong 510650

For more details about the exhibition please visit: