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Interpretation - Case Studies

The articles below, provide many examples of interpretation programmes and ideas produced by botanic gardens around the world.

Bringing Plant Conservation to Life

Do displays about endangered plants have to be dull? For years, our colleagues in the zoo world have demonstrated that it is possible to enthrall the public with stories of the plight of pandas and other imperiled animals. Even the most ordinary exhibit of extinct reptiles draws stampedes of dinosaur-smitten humans. Now botanic gardens are discovering ways to captivate their visitors with Venus flytraps and silverswords. Their ideas range from the basic (but not necessarily obvious) to the inspired.

An Interpretative Revolution

Plagued by the lack of public interest in our wonderful plants and their stories, disappointed by the interpretive inadequacies of plant labels, and thrilled by the prospect of a new challenge, the staff of the Natal NBG set out on a quest. Our goal: to find the ‘perfect’ plant label to make our gardens and their plants accessible and interesting to the majority of our visitors.

Speak the Right Language, Say the Right Thing

Botanic gardens are well-placed to raise public awareness of sustainability issues and biodiversity conservation by interpreting their collections. Careful evaluation of the interpretation project, before and during its development, as well as on completion can help to ensure that we get our messages across to visitors as effectively as possible.

More Than a Walk in the Park?

Increasingly botanical gardens are being challenged to build public understanding of complex conservation issues. Plant collections are beautiful object lessons, however, they are silent as visitors raise questions, trade ideas, and voice incorrect conclusions. Short, story-based presentations on science themes, using props to involve visitor in 'hands-on' learning represent one successful approach to both challenges.

Kew on Wheels

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.,have developed a new outreach programme for schools involving a Mobile Education Unit. The aim of the unit is to make education on plants more accessible to schools unable to visit Kew, and to emphasise the value of plant-based environmental education.

Simple but Effective - New Signs for Mount Coot-tha

We had been operating at Mt Coot tha Gardens for fourteen years without a coordinated signage strategy and so two years ago we decided to do something about our directional and interpretive signs. We were able to obtain the funds to employ communications consultants to help us put together a really effective set of signs.

in spanishInterpretación: Experimentar Más que Informar

A través de doce años de experiencia laboral en las ciencias ambientales, descubrí hace poco tiempo atrás, que he trabajado en interpretación sin saberlo. Durante mi experiencia descubrí que la interpretación se fundamenta, entre otros, en poder ‘compartir’ experiencias en el campo de lo que se pretende interpretar.

in spanishLos Estuches Educativos Portatiles

The Botanic Garden of National Independent University of Mexico (UNAM) has developed a series of portable educational cases that help primary and secondary teachers explain and demonstrate the importance of plants in everyday life. Each case covers a specific theme such as flowers, seeds, sweets, fruit, medicinal plants, herbs and spices. All cases have an emphasis on Mexican plants.

in spanishVer, Sentir, Aprender, Hacer

La riqueza natural y cultural de Yucatán se ve cada día más amenazada por la creciente globalización. Preocupados por esta pérdida, en el Jardín Botánico Regional-CICY nos hemos dado a la tarea de rescatar y difundir el conocimiento tradicional del uso y manejo de la biodiversidad por los mayas, a través de diversos métodos interpretativos (visitas guiadas, material didáctico, boletines, letreros ilustrados, etc).

in spanishEvaluation de Panneaux d'Interpretation

Des panneaux éphémères en forme de pétales, interprétant la floraison in situ, autour d’un merisier en fleur ont été testés pour leur attractivité et leur impact auprès du public. L’évaluation pratiquée sur un temps court (mois d’avril et début mai) et à petite échelle (échantillons faibles ) mais utilisant trios méthodes a permis d’obtenir un ensemble de données complémentaires et convergentes.