Online communities, e-updates and newsletters
With all the developments in education in botanic gardens it can be hard to keep track of the latest news, current affairs, research and resources available. Educators are busy people, who do not necessarily have the time to track these things down, so various groups and networks have developed list serves (where you can ask colleagues for help), e-newsletters or updates that come straight to your inbox. Here are a few suggestions that BGCI's education department uses:
E-newsletters and updates
A handy bite-sized review of the latest in botanic garden education from around the world, fresh to your inbox every month. Each month’s issue will include news updates from BGCI and botanic gardens around the world; links to education resources and materials you can use in your programmes; profiles of plant-based conservation educators and programmes; and ideas and feedback from our readers. Click here to subscribe, or to have a preview of May's issue.
This bilingual (French and English) quarterly resourcecombines the efforts of the CBCN and the Canadian Botanical Gardens Educator’s Network Newsletter to examine scientific, applied and public awareness issues on the conservation of plant biodiversity.
Providing up to 40 news stories a day via their ‘World Environment News’ service, sponsored by Reuters’s, Planet Ark is a great way to stay in touch with global environmental issues, through well-written, concise articles and dramatic images. An Australian not-for-profit organization, founded by the tennis player Pat Cash and charity campaigner Jon Dee in 1991, it is now one of the world’s biggest online environmental news service with over 8 million visitors to their site a year. As well as daily updates, their site contains links to a vast back catalogue, covering topics from deforestation to animal rights, water to nuclear power, containing images and articles. Planet Ark also runs campaigns on a wide variety of issues, such as tree planting, recycling and reducing junk mail, and has produced an environmental education kit for primary schools.
ENN is similar to Planet Ark, with excellent daily updates, an image library and topic-led archives, but its website is also well-stocked with resources, commentary on current issues, news from not-for-profits and companies and links to Environmental News Radio and video.
A weekly news update, on a slightly different theme, Scidevnet provides news, views and information on science and technology in the developing world. Although stories are much more technical in nature, they give the background information in a clear way. The service is a great source of information on potential solutions to environmental issues, and addresses the strong ‘northern’ bias of most scientific communication resources. Dossiers on indigenous knowledge, climate change and GM crops are accessible and comprehensive, and a new section on biodiversity contains lots of useful statistics, background, information on hotspots and definitions of terms. Although most of the website is in English, some sections are in Spanish, Chinese, French and Portuguese.
The Bulletin is a free service that communicates UK-based international development research to decision-makers and practitioners working in developing countries. Their newsletters cover research and news on topics such as rural development, health, education, media and natural resources.
These are useful as a way of contacting colleagues in similar organisations for example, asking questions, advertising jobs, sharing resources and so on. Many networks have their own list serve, you may have to be a member in order to receive it. See below for a few examples:
Yahoo group for botanic garden educators in the US
List serve for members of Botanic Garden Education Network in the UK
European Regional Network of International Zoo Educators
IUCN - CEC
The CEC-ESD list is the internet meeting place of the IUCN-CEC Working Group on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The purpose of this list is to provide a communication tool for updating ESD Group members on developments and a channel for inviting members to become involved in CEC products. It will also provide a forum for discussion for issues relating ESD. Have a look at their website for more information on how to join.
There are many list serves on providers such as Yahoo - all you have to do is sign up for a free Yahoo account, then you can look up groups that discuss the issues you are interested in.