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Full steam ahead for the 9th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens!

1 July 2014
To meet the congress hosts and discuss the details of the venue and the very exciting activities organised for delegates, BGCI Education visited Missouri between 24th-28th June, 2014 . Here are the highlights of the trip. If you are as inspired as we were by the Missouri Botanical Garden then join us for the Congress.

The Call for proposals is now open! Submit your abstracts here! There are also a number of scholarships to assist several delegates in attending the congress. You can find more information on the congress website where you can also download the application form.

BGCI attended the Congress organising committee meeting along with representatives from all the garden departments. It is impressive to see how staff across the garden have embraced the organising of the 2015 Education Congress and are collaborating toward a common, shared goal.


Wednesday, June 25th meeting of the BGCI Education Congress Committee Meeting


Highlights for the exciting events lined up for the 2015 Education Congress include:

 The iconic view of the garden where the congress reception will take place on 26th April, 2015.

During the congress the delegates will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the excellent public engagement spaces and activities at Missouri Botanical Garden. An excellent example of a visitor engagement hub is the Brookings Interpretive Center. Here, visitors of all ages are invited to make, create, build, take apart, tinker, investigate, and discover.


Halfway through the congress ( Wednesday 29th May, 2015) we are planning an especially fun and engaging day. It will begin with speed making sessions where educators can participate in short ‘make and take’ sessions to get a wealth of hands-on activities they can take back home and use in their gardens. A session on tinkering with plants will also showcase that plants can be used is all sorts of different ways in order to ‘cure’ the phenomenon of ‘plant blindness’ (Wandersee and Schlusser, 1998).

Another high point of the day will be the visit to the Shaw Nature Reserve, a premier educational, research and habitat restoration site. There Delegates will be introduced, through tours and activity stations, to how people can be inspired to connect with nature for the benefit of their wellbeing and the environment. One of BGCI’s favourite parts of the Shaw Nature Reserve was the children’s garden which meets the Nature Explore Classroom ideals and uses only natural materials and encourages play and investigation.



BGCI’s visit to MSG was also a great opportunity for BGCI to learn more about the great public engagement activities run in the garden, and also its worldwide conservation work with an educational focus. Here are the highlights of the trip in pictures:


Each visitor passing the doors of MBG can stop by the information desk and print out their personalised tour map depending on their interests and motivations for their visit!



At the information desk, visitors will also discover which plants are in bloom at the garden.


 Another favourite, was the current exhibition: Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks. The world famous Climatron greenhouse is currently home to 25 sculptures inspired by nature and constructed from over 300,000 LEGO pieces. The interpretation of the exhibits highlight messages about sustainability and ecological balance.


Lastly, another great element of public engagement in MBG is its free concerts for the public every Wednesday evening during the summer! The Whitaker Music Festival brings great musicians to St Louis and gives local people the chance to enjoy the garden while picnicking with their friends and family and listening to music. BGCI was impressed by the variety of people attending the event, which attracts audiences who may not usually visit the garden.


Here are a couple of the great ways the garden uses these events to engage visitors with sustainability: 

 At the entrance the to garden visitors are encouraged to Pledge to Hit a Green Note at the Whitaker Festival.
Station that encourages visitors to have a zero waste picnic!


Thank you to all the Missouri team for sharing their best practice in public engagement with BGCI and we look forward to seeing them again at the Congress!

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