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Educators Call for Worldwide Action on Plant-Based Education

19 October 2006
Educators believe in a coordinated approach

 Educators at the BGCI Congress are taking a coordinated approach
Image © BGCI 

Compelling evidence of an emerging global consensus on the importance of plant-based education to plant diversity conservation, has appeared with the call from an international group of botanic garden educators for governments to step up and provide increased support for training, resources and information exchange.

Using the platform of Botanic Gardens Conservation International’s (BGCI) 6th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens, held jointly at Oxford University and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, delegates from Brazil, China, Indonesia, Russia, USA and UK presented the findings of six national meetings convened to examine the status of plant-based education in their respective countries.

Held earlier this year under the auspices of BGCI, the meetings looked at strategies to heighten public awareness about plant diversity and conservation under Target 14 (promoting education and awareness about plant diversity) of the UN’s Global Strategy on Plant Conservation (GSPC). Significantly, every meeting highlighted the lack of governmental support for such initiatives.

According to Suzanne Sharrock, BGCI’s Director of Public Awareness and Understanding, this is a significant development “because it shows that there is a growing convergence of opinion from a broad spectrum of countries with differing biodiversity challenges, that education is key to addressing conservation needs and support for this at government and international level is urgently required.”

The findings will be presented next month in Dublin at an Expert Group meeting on the GSPC organised by the UN-backed Convention on Biological Diversity. Membership of the group includes representatives of the signatory countries to the Convention and international organisations.

The Dublin meeting will review the implementation of the GSPC and also examine proposals for a ‘toolkit’ designed to assist the Parties integrate the GSPC targets into their own national strategies and programmes. Following this a report will then be submitted to the CBD.

BGCI’s role is key to the Dublin meeting. As the facilitating agency for two of the 16 targets of the GSPC it has a major reporting function. It also provides the Secretariat for the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation, a voluntary grouping of organisations dedicated to the implementation of the GSPC, for which it hosts the website,


Find Out More

6th Education Congress: Proceedings Now Available
BGCI’s 6th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens in September has been billed as "the best ever". This unique gathering of the leading figures in botanic garden education inspired, motivated and brought people together. The Proceedings are now online - follow the link above.

Global Partnership for Plant Conservation
The Global Partnership for Plant Conservation brings together international, regional and national organisations in order to contribute to the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). This website is full of useful information and links to all kinds of useful resources.

E4S Environmental Teaching Resources
E4S provides teachers with lesson planning materials on the sustainable use of water, textiles and timber resources and issues surrounding waste management. These free online teaching resources and ideas will help you generate classroom activities.

The Convention on Biological Diversity
Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. The CBD is a global, comprehensive agreement addressing all aspects of biological diversity: genetic resources, species, and ecosystems.

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Last Child in the Woods
Richard Louv's book argues that children desperately need to be able to play in the woods - and that Western culture's sterile rejection of nature is harming them in body and soul.
Target 14: Communicating the Importance of Plant Diversity
This PDF leaflet is for raising awareness about Target 14 of the GSPC. A crucial element of conservation is educating the public and communicating the importance of plants. The leaflet is free to download and print yourself, or you can contact BGCI to discuss distribution of large batches.