Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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Westonbirt, The National Arboretum - Hidden Voices

During 2012 BGCI supported four UK gardens to re-evaluate their social role and to develop small-scale projects to engage with their local communities.  Here we profile Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. For more information download Westonbirt’s report and view a short film about the project commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. 





Hidden Voices enabled Westonbirt to engage with three new audiences:

  1. Bristol Drugs Project (BDP)
  2. Awaz Utaoh (AU), an Asian women’s group
  3. Stroud Macular Disease Society (SMDS)
The aim of the project was to encourage participants to connect with trees and the environment.  The programme was developed collaboratively with the participants and activities were tailored for each group - focusing on sustainable woodland management with BDP, importance of tree conservation with AU and climate change with SMDS.  Evaluation of the project demonstrated that Hidden Voices helped raise participants’ self esteem, changed their perception towards Westonbirt and increased their understanding about the importance of trees. It also highlighted a range of challenges for Westonbirt taking forward this work for the future.


Read Westonbirt’s report.

Watch the film about the project (10 mins)