Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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“Urban Public Gardens: challenges and opportunities” - PlantNetwork conference starts today

11 April 2013

PlantNetwork’s spring conference: “Urban Public Gardens: challenges and opportunities” is being held today and tomorrow (April 11th-12th) at Clare College, Cambridge & Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

One of the key challenges all botanic gardens face is remaining socially relevant to their local communities. With rapid rises in population densities, and an increasing number of properties being built without gardens, botanic gardens are presented with both challenges and opportunities in interacting with their constantly changing communities.

Botanic gardens can act as tranquil, yet fascinating oases of green space in an increasingly dense cityscape. A place where people of all ages can interact with the environment. Not only do they offer relaxation, but they also act as essential centres of both formal and informal education.

Over the next two days at the PlantNetwork conference, speakers from a range of urban gardens, parks and organisations will discuss the wide range of challenges and opportunities they face, focusing on:

  • The role of horticulture in creating dynamic urban landscapes
  • Habitats, climate and wildlife in cities
  • Public engagement and exciting an interest in plants
  • Cultural and social roles
  • Health and well-being.

BGCI’s Director of Education, Julia Willison, will be attending the conference and will also give a presentation on BGCI’s ‘Communities in Nature’ project, along with Jenny Foulkes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and Ruth Godfrey from the University of Leicester Botanic Garden.

The ‘Communities in Nature’ initiative encourages the commitment of botanic gardens to develop their social role by working with their local communities on shared issues of social and environmental importance.

We are always seeking new partnerships, so if you would like to collaborate with BGCI on a project then please register your interest by completing this online form.

You can also read accounts from other gardens about their projects on our Communities in Nature blog.

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