First of all, and if it is not too late, BGCI would like to wish you a very happy new year. This year, 2012, is the Year of the Dragon, the mightiest of the Chinese zodiac signs. And if the last six weeks are anything to go by, BGCI seems set to have a ‘mighty’ year itself this year!
We are all well aware of the important role wild plant resources play in supporting the livelihoods of the rural poor, but it is not always clear how we can capitalise on this. Now, thanks to funding from the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), we are able to carry out a series of pilot studies in Brazil, China, India and Mexico on just this topic. The studies aim to identify successful models and draw lessons for policy makers on the sustainable management and commercialisation of wild flora and its products (excluding timber). Find out more here http://www.bgci.org/ourwork/livelihoods/
In 2012 we will continue to promote and support the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) (find out more here: http://www.plants2020.net/ ). Our focus this year is very much on capacity building, with a number of workshops, training courses and conferences planned with our partners around the world. The first training event is due to take place in South Africa later this month and we are very excited to be working with the South African National Biodiversity Institute to deliver a plant conservation training course for participants from across Africa.
Our biggest event of course this year will be the 8th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens, which will be held in Mexico from 12-16 November 2012. The theme of the Congress is ‘Education and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation’ and we hope that many of you will be able to join us there. Find out more here: http://www.bgci.org/education/mexicoform/
As always, we will keep you informed of our latest news and upcoming events on our website –so do keep an eye on it.
All at BGCI wish you a very productive and successful 2012.
A New Fund to Protect Plants
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) are delighted to announce the first call for the MSBP-BGCI Fieldwork Fund. The fund aims to enable organisations to undertake fieldwork in their own country resulting in high quality seed collections for conservation.
A key objective of the Fieldwork Fund is to make a substantial contribution to Target 8 of the GSPC by bringing into ex situ conservation those plant species which have not already been conserved, particularly threatened species. The Fund will also contribute to the MSBP target to conserve seed from 25% of the world’s flora by 2020.
Botanic organisations are invited to submit applications to the Fund Co-ordinator by 19 March 2012.
Click here to find out more about the MSBP-BGCI Fieldwork Fund and how to apply.
Launching a new advanced search facility for GardenSearch
Searchable information on botanic garden expertise, facilities and activities is now just a mouse-click away with our new ‘Advanced Search’ function for the GardenSearch database. This additional search functionality provides unique online access to data on more than 3,000 botanical institutions worldwide and demonstrates the collective conservation and research resources available within the global botanic garden community. Find out more here: http://www.bgci.org/resources/news/0926/
BGCI U.S. Strategic Plan 2012-2016 Now Available
The BGCI U.S. Board of Directors has developed a new Strategic Plan for work in 2012-2016 (available here) that builds on our strengths and helps us increasingly support BGCI members and plant conservation in the United States and globally. Please take a look and let us know what you think.
2011 Database Summary for the U.S.
We’ve prepared a summary of the content and use of PlantSearch and GardenSearch in the United States for 2010 and 2011, which we think you'll find interesting (download here). We’ll update this document annually to show trends in the databases, demonstrate progress toward the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, and provide a snapshot of the collections, facilities and expertise of public gardens in the United States.
The Sixth European Botanic Gardens Congress (EuroGard VI) will be held on Chios Island, Greece from 28 May - 2 June 2012. The theme of the Congress is ‘European Botanic Gardens in a Changing World’. The Congress will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the work of botanic gardens in the 21st century, including sessions on plant conservation, networking and examining the role of plants in myth, history, art, science and culture. For more information, visit the Congress website: http://www.eurogardvi.gr/
At BGCI we are busy organizing the final meeting of the 4D4Life project. This EC funded project has created new services and electronic infrastructure for the Catalogue of Life. As part of the meeting there will be a public symposium at the University of Reading, Taxonomy and the Catalogue of Life: Ecosystem of Services on 28-29 March 2012. The symposium is in memory of Professor Frank Bisby. All are welcome to attend. To register for the symposium or to request further information please contact 4D4Life@bgci.org
Thank you to all who have sent information on ecological restoration activities in response to recent enquiries. Plans for the Ecological Restoration Alliance of botanic gardens, coordinated by BGCI, are progressing well and we are preparing for a public launch in May 2012. BGCI is also involved in the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)’s work providing guidance to the CBD on ecosystem restoration. SER is compiling publically available documents on ecosystem restoration that specifically refer to guidance or guidelines, tools and technologies and would like to hear from any botanic gardens that have produced or can suggest such documents. Please contact Sasha Alexander(firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Society for Ecological Restoration.
May 18th is Plant Conservation Day!
We hope you will join us in this global celebration, dedicated to preserving, protecting, and conserving plants for people and the planet.
Find out how your garden can get involved: www.plantconservationday.org
And join the celebration on Facebook!
Corresponding celebrations on May 18 include:
• The European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) is launching the first international "Fascination of Plants Day" on May 18, 2012. Visit the website for more information.
• Endangered Species Day in the U.S. is May 18 this year! Visit the website for details.
Botanic Garden Education
Communities in Nature
BGCI is delighted to announce that four gardens from across the UK have been selected to participate in the programme ‘Communities in Nature: growing the social role of botanic gardens’: Bristol Zoo Gardens; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; University of Leicester Botanic Garden; and Westonbirt, the National Arboretum. The gardens represent a diverse cross-section in terms of location, scale and focus through which to develop the programme.
Through a series of workshops and one-to-one support, BGCI will work closely with the gardens over the next six months as they shape, implement and evaluate their projects with new local communities and reconsider their role, responsibilities and mission in a world of pressing environmental change. BGCI will also develop an online handbook that will capture the learning, identify innovation and best practice, and provide an accessible resource for botanic gardens, wherever they are in the world, to reflect on their influence and realise their potential for developing a more social role.
Find out more about the project and join in our blog at http://communitiesinnature.wordpress.com/
BGCI’s Education Congress
There is still time to submit an abstract to participate in the 8th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens to be held November, 12-16, 2012 at Jardín Botánico del Instituto de Biología de la UNAM, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
The congress will have a strong focus on how botanic gardens can address the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) targets through education and will focus on the following themes in relation to the GSPC:
? Knowledge and understanding – plants in the spotlight
? Sustaining our natural capital
? Plants, economy and culture – have we got the balance right?
? Connecting people to plants – learning to live more sustainability
? Training and collaborating for change
You will find a detailed description of the congress themes at : http://www.bgci.org/files/Worldwide/Education/Mexico_Congress/congress__themes_english.pdf . Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words. The deadline for submitting the abstracts is Friday 30th March, 2012. Successful applicants will be notified by the organising committee in May 2012. To submit an abstract, please visit: http://www.bgci.org/education/form/0023/
New Botanical Publications
100 Plant Facts
A new children's publication: 100 Facts - Plant Life is about to be published in association with BGCI. The book helps young minds to discover 100 amazing plant facts – from how species survive in different environments to the connections between plants, animals and humans. Activities, quizzes and cartoons adorn almost every page and are a great way to inspire interest in the fascinating topic of plants. Find out more here: http://www.bgci.org/resources/news/0922/