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Jardin Botánico de Mérida

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Venezuela - Mérida - Mërida

Institution Code: MERC

International Agenda Registration: No

BGCI Member: Yes

Entrance of the Botanical Garden
Entrance of the Botanical Garden

About the Jardin Botánico de Mérida

The Jardin Botanico de Mérida belongs to the Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida Venezuela. Its mission is to be a space open to the public to learn the importance of nature and cultural inheritanc of the Venezuelan Andes, for conservation and enjoyment.

Main Address:
Jardin Botánico de Mérida
Facultad de Ciencias, Apdo. postal 52
La Hechicera
Mérida 5101 Venezuela

Telephone: +58 (0)274 240 1294
Fax: +58 (0)274 240 1297
URL: http://www.botanica.ciens.ula
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Juan Carlos Gaviria R.
    Curator's Name: Yelitza León Vargas
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Carlos Tirado
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 7
    Educational Staff Number: 3
    Research Staff Number: 7
    Administration Staff Number: 3

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: No
    Status: State: No
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Municipal: No
    Status: Satellite: No
    Status: Trust: No
  • Date founded: 1991
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 12 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
    Landscaped Area: Size: 7 Hectares
  • Total Area: 44 Hectares
    Latitude: 8.6014
    Longitude: -71.1486
    Annual Rainfall: 1400 mm
    Altitude: 1800.00 Metres
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: Jardín Botánico de Mérida
  • Local Address: Av. Alberto Carnevali, La Hechicera
  • Locality: City: Mérida
  • Locality: State: Mérida

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 25000
  • Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: No
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: No
  • Number of Visitors: 30000

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 8000
  • Special Collections:The garden has:
    Cloud Forest
    Medicinal plants
    Decidous lowland forest

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Medicinal Plant Programme: No
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Yes
    Reintroduction Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Biotechnology: Yes
    Plant Breeding: No
    Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Conservation - Genetics: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: No
    Ecology: Yes
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: No
    Exploration: Yes
    Floristics: Yes
    Horticulture: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: No
    Molecular Genetics: Yes
    Pollination Biology: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Seed/Spore Biology: No
    Systematics and Taxonomy: Yes
    Sustainability: No
    Pharmacology: No
    Agriculture: No
    Land Restoration: Yes
    Urban Environments: Yes

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: No
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: Yes
    Courses for University/College Students: Yes
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes

Environmental Education without Boundaries


For over a decade, the Mérida Botanic Garden has been disseminating knowledge about plants, promoting conservation and developing conservation campaigns. Its flagship SELVA (Sowing Environmental Values) environmental education programme is attended by 9000 children every year from ‘low-resource’ schools. The garden also supports special-needs children through gardening and outdoor recreational events. Participation and inclusion of all communities in order to preserve the environment and improve quality of life is at the heart Mérida Botanic Garden’s public engagement activities.

In 2014, the garden began its Environmental Education without Boundaries (EEWB) project. Its aim was to empower blind and visually-impaired audiences to participate in reliving issues related to biodiversity and the environment.

 Visitors at an EEWB event, exploring the gardens. © MBC


Project start date: January 2014

Project end date: July 2015


The EEWB’s main objectives were:

  • To develop an education programme suitable for blind and visually-impaired audiences
  • To develop high quality teaching materials to enhance learning and outreach of local biodiversity 
  • To encourage and support blind and visually-impaired audiences to generate and disseminate information about environmental issues in the Venezuelan state of Mérida


The project involved a multidisciplinary team of biologists, gardeners, teachers, graphic designers, special needs educators as well as consultation of Mérida’s Integral Aid for the Visually Impaired Centre.

Since 2014, EEWB has worked with the blind and visually-impaired community to develop sensory-guided tours. The project has developed an audio guide that describes the plant and bird species found in Mérida Botanic Garden. This is accompanied by tactile educative material, texturized graphic descriptions and Braille. Two members of the blind and visually-impaired community have also been recruited as garden guides. 


An estimated 500 to 2000 people have benefited from the EEWB project at Mérida Botanic Garden. Not only has there been an increase in blind and visually-impaired visitors to the garden, but also people from other groups. The sensory activities have become so popular that visitors have requested that they are included in schools and other public places.

More formal assessment of the project is expected. The impact of print material and panels has been assessed on both visually-impaired and non-visually-impaired visitors. This was done during garden tours, and used Analysis of Interconnected Decision Areas (AIDA) assessment techniques. A four-month evaluation, with blind and visually-impaired visitors, on the other formats of education material (audio, tactile, visual-adapted) is to follow.

What’s Next

EEWB has provided Mérida Botanic Garden with new perspectives on environmental education. The garden believes the project has helped integrate blind and visually-impaired individuals into the wider community of Mérida.

The garden wants to develop similar programmes for other groups of the population, such as senior citizens. It also hopes its work will be replicated in other institutions, so that environmental education can reach people at a national scale. 

Practitioners and Sponsors