Botanic Gardens Conservation International
BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world's largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world's threatened plants.

Plants for the Planet

- March 2013

Suzanne Sharrock


the email newsletter from 

Botanic Gardens Conservation International 

Dear Cultivator,

It is hard to believe we are already two months into 2013. We hope the year has started well for you. 

Here in BGCI we have a busy year ahead of us.  Of course our main focus will be on the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress ( for which we have already received a lot of interest from around the world.  It is not too late to submit proposals for presentations and symposia – but please do so soon as the deadline is fast approaching (22nd March 2013).

Our work on tree Red Listing will continue in 2013 – with a publication planned on Andean montane forest trees and a new focus on Betula. The work on birches will take as its taxonomic baseline the forthcoming Botanical Magazine Monograph: "The Genus Betula - A taxonomic revision of birches" by Kenneth Ashburner and Hugh A. McAllister due for publication by Kew in March 2013. 

We will continue to develop the Ecological Restoration Alliance of botanic gardens that was launched in 2012 and we are working with an award winning photographer Barney Wilczak to document ecological restoration activities around the world.  

On the education side, we hope you have already seen our exciting new animation on how botanic gardens are becoming more socially aware – if not, do take a look now ( – and we are busy preparing for a conference on inquiry-based science education that will be held here at Kew on 9-10 July 2013.

We provide an overview of our latest news below. Please do keep check our website regularly for updated information – or alternatively, you can follow us on Twitter: and

Best wishes from all the team at BGCI


Extension of deadline to submit abstracts for 5GBGC
The deadline for submission of abstracts and proposals for symposia for the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress, which will take place from 20-25 October in Dunedin, New Zealand has been extended until 22 March. For more information,

INQUIRE conference 'Raising standards through inquiry: Professional development in the natural environment'
This conference will take place at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, 9-10th July 2013. The deadline for abstract submission is: Monday 11th March. This will be an opportunity for educators, researchers and education authorities’ professionals to share their experiences in promoting Inquiry-Based Science Education.  The themes of the congress will include: IBSE outdoors; Reflective Practice; Professional Learning Communities; Evaluation of IBSE; Students perspectives on IBSE; Developing training courses in LOtC sites.  

Read more about the congress here ( and, to present your work, submit your abstract on-line (  You will find more details about the congress at the INQUIRE website congress page. (

Care for the Rare
The website and resources available for our Care for the Rare interpretation project continue to expand.  This project aims to build the capacity for botanic gardens to communicate consistent messages about conservation to their visitors.  With this, we are building a free and open access library of interpretive signs created by botanic gardens using standard templates. The Care for the Rare logo can also be used to identify threatened plants on signs of any kind. This project is the result of a partnership between the
United States Botanic Garden and BGCI US.  

The sign library will continue to grow in 2013 as a number of gardens create signs for the U.S. Endangered Species Day and the International Plant Conservation Day (May 18).   Visit to check out these growing interpretation resources.

Translated GSPC resources
A technical brochure on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation has been translated into Russian and Arabic.  This document, which is also available in English, French and Spanish, can be downloaded from the GSPC toolkit website (

Review of GSPC implementation in Central America and Caribbean
A workshop on GSPC implementation in Central America and Spanish-speaking Caribbean was held in Mexico in November 2012. A report of this workshop is now available on the GSPC toolkit website ( and a table providing an overview of progress against each target can be downloaded here (  

Enhancing Tree Conservation and Forest Restoration in Africa
On Monday February 25th BGCI held a seminar in London, UK, to launch a new three year project funded by the Ashden Trust. The project will promote and facilitate the use of indigenous tree species in forest restoration projects across Africa, highlighting the potential for botanic gardens to be more involved in restoration projects by providing knowledge and expertise. We are also investigating how well native trees are represented in botanic garden collections across Africa as a source of genetic material for restoration. In order to achieve this, we are encouraging African botanic gardens to supply information about their collections. Please get in touch with Kirsty ( to ensure your collection is represented in this important survey.

Through this project, forest restoration activities of two botanic gardens in Africa will be expanded; Brackenhurst Botanic Garden in Kenya and Tooro Botanical Gardens in Uganda. The restoration work of these gardens will be closely monitored and good practice guidelines will be developed and disseminated to other African gardens. The activities at Brackenhurst and Tooro will be highlighted as pilot projects of the Ecological Restoration Alliance ( We will develop partnerships with other botanic gardens, the private sector and NGOs to carry out further restoration activities across Africa. Monday’s seminar brought together 20 representatives from various organisations with experience of tree planting in Africa and we are exploring a number of collaborations as a result of the meeting. A similar workshop will be held in Uganda in July 2013, where we hope to engage with further NGOs, and representatives from government and the private sector involved in tree planting. We are interested to hear from parties involved in forest
restoration in Africa, so please do get in touch with Kirsty ( if you would like to find out more about the project.

Cross-Country Move
Abby Hird, BGCI U.S. Research Associate, who has been hosted by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for the past three years, has set up a new office at
Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden (RSABG) in Claremont, California.  BGCI U.S. is grateful for the support of the Arnold Arboretum during the 2010 North American Collections Assessment and subsequent enhancements to BGCI’s PlantSearch and GardenSearch databases.  Andrea Kramer, BGCI U.S. Executive Director, said, “The tremendous support from the Arnold Arboretum has allowed us to do much more with our current resources, and we look forward to continuing collaborations with them.”  

Abby is thrilled to be gaining direct access to RSABG’s world-class conservation programs, and BGCI and its global network will no doubt benefit from the closer connection to RSABG and other public gardens in the region.  For 2013, Abby plans to continue developing BGCI’s data services, and other major BGCI U.S. efforts like the Care for the Rare project, carried out in collaboration with the United States Botanic Garden.

Help needed
The pro-iBiosphere project ( is studying the IT infrastructure requirements for taxonomy. If you are a taxonomist, a flora/fauna writer or editor, if you work on taxonomic specimens or are in anyway a producer of taxonomic knowledge, please take a little time to express your opinions on taxonomic IT. The survey is available at:
An undergraduate student at Reading University, UK is investigating how integrated pest management is used in tropical glasshouse displays.  He has set up a questionnaire If you can help, please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

New publication
Just as we send out this issue of Cultivate, BGCI is delighted to receive a copy of Gingko: the Tree that Time Forgot by Professor Peter Crane. 

Published by Yale University Press, this book explores the history of the gingko from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence. It will be eagerly read, passed round the office and widely recommended to all who love trees and have an interest in conservation of biodiversity. We look forward to publishing a review on the BGCI website.