How Botanic Garden Educators Are Supporting the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
As has been mentioned, botanic gardens, including their education departments, are already doing huge amounts of work that supports the aims of the GSPC. Educators can identify which of their programmes and projects contribute to the aims and use this as a basis for increasing interest and status of the work of the education department within the botanic garden as a whole – useful when wrangling for more funds! A survey of BGEN (Botanic Garden Education Network, U.K) members at their annual congress provided some excellent ideas and ways in which educators are already contributing to the GSPC – click on one of the targets below to see how their programmes connect and to gain some importation.
Think about what areas of your own programmes already fulfil these targets – then be one of the first 20 people to complete our survey for a free copy of ‘Plants for the Planet: Resources for Botanic Gardens’, worth £12/€18. To complete the questionnaire click here Any ideas and examples submitted will be credited and added on this website under the relevant targets for other educators to gain inspiration from.
For more information about BGEN, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Target 1: A widely accessible working list of known plant species, as a step towards a complete world flora.
For example, maybe you have programmes about databases, or train students in database techniques. Do you work with taxonomists or talk about the importance of their work for conservation? Does the education department work with research scientists in a science communication programme?
Target 2: A preliminary assessment of the conservation status of all known plant species, at national, regional and international levels.
Are you or do you facilitate your audience groups to get involved in local plant survey work, e.g. talks and guided walks? Does the education department host talks by researchers or field workers?
Target 3: Development of models with protocols for plant conservation and sustainable use, based on research and practical experience.
Working directly with conservation projects and programmes e.g. helping to set up education programmes elsewhere, fund teacher training in developing countries or have a regular means by which to share expertise.
Target 4: At least 10% of each of the world’s ecological regions effectively conserved.
Do your programmes include information about world habitats and their loss? Any interpretation panels or events connected to the importance of biomes and different habitats?
Target 5: Protection of 50% of the most important areas for plant diversity assured.
Do you talk about biodiversity ‘hotspots’ with school groups or have displays looking at their importance and relevance to your audience?
Target 6: At least 30% of production lands managed consistent with the conservation of plant diversity.
Are you involved with or do you teach about involvement with government policy on agriculture? Does any of your work examine agricultural practices and political implications?
Target 7: 60% of the world’s threatened species conserved in situ.
Is there a connection between the education department and public awareness campaigns in house to raise money for in situ provision? Do you work with conservation areas within your site, for example by having guided walks or trails through nature areas or interpreting conservation zones?
Discussion about the importance of maintaining habitat and its value with college groups
Target 8: 60% of threatened plant species in accessible ex-situ collections, preferably in the country of origin and 10% of them included in recovery and restoration programmes.
Do you or your team take guided tours around a seed bank? Do you have discussion groups with college students about ex-situ conservation methods and the ways that botanic gardens are involved with conservation?
Target 9: 70% of the genetic diversity of crops and other major socio-economically valuable plant species conserved and associated indigenous and local knowledge maintained.
Have you set up any projects which work with local people to learn about their usage of traditional crops or native plants? Have you produced any interpretation or programmes based around a medicinal or herbal gardens displays? What about involving local communities with theatre or craft work to utilise their knowledge of plants with the next generation?
Target 10: Management plans in place of at least 100 major alien species that threaten plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems.
Have you invited guest speakers to talk about using native plants in the domestic garden to prevent alien invasion or produced information leaflets/ website contents about invasives and the associated problems?
Target 11: No species of wild flora endangered by international trade.
Does your site use exhibits focussing on the unsustainable practices of the tourist trade in endangered species, such as orchids? Do you get involved in training programmes for customs officials etc so that they can identify endangered species?
Target 12: 30% of plant-based products derived from sources that are sustainably managed.
For example, have you encouraged your site shop to sell fair trade and locally manufactured products that uphold the garden’s aims and objectives, or the cafeteria to sell local organic produce. What about your own office, if you print this out, is it on recycled paper? Can you influence your site to become more sustainable itself while encouraging your audience to do the same?
Target 13: The decline of plant resources, and associated indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care, halted.
Does your site have involvement in projects documenting local knowledge e.g. stories, games, songs, poems, uses and history of local people’s interaction with plants. Do you get involved with training courses to encourage sustainable livelihoods?
Target 14: The importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into communication, educational and public-awareness programmes.
Do you run school’s programmes about habitats and ecosystems, looking at plant/animal interactions and our own connection and place in these interactions?
Target 15: The number of trained people working with appropriate facilities in plant conservation increased, according to national needs, to achieve the targets of this strategy.
Do you help at or organise regular capacity building and training events for garden staff and staff in the field?
Target 16: Networks for plants conservation activities established or strengthened at national, regional and international levels.
Are you active in conservation education networks? Do you share your ideas and experiences with others in the same field?