Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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Target 14 Symposium

Report from the First-ever Plant-based Conservation Education Symposium

Plant-based Education SymposiumAs part of its ongoing commitment to overseeing the achievement of Target 14 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, BGCI sponsored a daylong symposium on May 18, 2006, in Washington, D.C., to assess the status of plant conservation education in the United States. The symposium—the first ever in the United States focusing on education about plant conservation—included 40 participants representing government agencies, botanic gardens, conservation NGOs and environmental education organizations.

During the symposium, participants participated in small-group discussion to identify current best practices in plant conservation education, barriers to achieving Target 14, and strategies for strengthening education about plant conservation in advance of the GSPC’s 2010 end date. BGCI has now released a summary statement (PDF document, 73k) that highlights the major conclusions of the symposium. Support for the symposium, including travel stipends for participants, was provided by HSBC’s Investing in Nature program. The symposium was hosted by the United States Botanic Garden.


BGCI is the lead facilitating organization overseeing the achievement of Target 14 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). Adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2002, the GSPC sets 16 outcome-oriented targets to be achieved by 2010 in order to halt the loss of plant diversity worldwide. Target 14 of the GSPC focuses on education and public understanding of the importance of plant diversity. The symposium aimed to answer the following questions:

  • To what degree is the importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into communication, education and public awareness programs in the United States?
  • What actions can be taken both locally and nationally to strengthen plant-based conservation education programs in the United States?

The Symposium

During the symposium, participants heard case studies of plant-based conservation education and public awareness programs from around the country. Participants also collaboratively created a series of recommended actions for achieving Target 14.

Dr. Gary Krupnick, Head of the Plant Conservation Unit at the Smithsonian Institution, provided the keynote address for the event. Krupnick is the co-editor of the recently published Plant Conservation: A Natural History Approach and oversees the Smithsonian’s involvement with the GSPC.

The symposium was part of a larger effort to assess the status of plant-based conservation education worldwide. In 2006, BGCI sponsored similar national meetings in the United Kingdom, China, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil. The results of the meetings were presented at the American Public Gardens Association annual conference in June 2006 and at BGCI's 6th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens in September 2006. Additionally, BGCI will produce a summary publication for international distribution.

Additional Information

Symposium Summary Statement (PDF doc, 73k)

Information PDF about Target 14 (798k)

Major funding for the Target 14 Symposium provided by HSBC. HSBC Logo