BGCI Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation Launched

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9 April 2019

Botanic Gardens Conservation International will accept applications for the BGCI Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation from today.

BGCI’s Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation is aimed at botanic institutions wishing to demonstrate that they achieve significant conservation impact, and recognises botanic gardens with a focus on conservation actions that support local, national or global conservation goals.

The following botanic gardens are the first recipients of BGCI’s Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation:

  • Atlanta Botanical Garden, USA
  • Chicago Botanic Garden, USA
  • Denver Botanic Gardens, USA
  • Native Plant Trust / Garden in the Woods, USA
  • Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, USA
  • Montgomery Botanical Center, USA
  • National Botanic Garden of Wales, United Kingdom
  • North Carolina Botanical Garden, USA
  • Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • State Botanical Garden of Georgia, USA

BGCI accreditation ensures that gardens adhere to international standards, results in tangible benefits for participating gardens – such as recognition, peer review, creating standards for excellence, and funding – and acts as a motivator for botanic garden leadership.

The Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation includes a Conservation Collections Assessment completed by BGCI. “The Conservation Collections Assessment provides a succinct evaluation of the value of our living collections and will aid in prioritization of collections acquisition and back-up moving forward,” said Dr. Jennifer Ramp Neale, Director of Research and Conservation at Denver Botanic Gardens.

Additionally, applications for Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation are reviewed through an external review process that culminates with an endorsement by members of BGCI’s International Advisory Council, a global leadership forum for the botanic gardens sector comprising 30 garden directors from six continents.

Botanical institutions can now apply for all three accreditations offered by BGCI: BGCI Botanic Garden Accreditation, BGCI Conservation Practitioner Accreditation, and BGCI Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation.

The BGCI Botanic Garden Accreditation is aimed at botanical institutions wishing to establish their credentials as botanic gardens adhering to internationally recognised standards.

The BGCI Conservation Practitioner Accreditation recognises botanic gardens with a conservation-oriented approach.

For more information on BGCI’s Botanic Garden Accreditation Scheme contact Brian Lainoff (

Statements from the First BGCI Accredited Advanced Conservation Practitioners

Atlanta Botanical Garden, USA

“The Atlanta Botanical Garden is proud to have been able to participate in the initial development of the Accreditation Scheme for Botanic Gardens,” said Mary Pat Matheson, The Anna & Hays Mershon President and CEO of Atlanta Botanical Garden. “BGCI has done a tremendous job putting together both qualitative and quantitative criteria for benchmarking conservation work. The Garden is honored to be awarded the BGCI Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation for our work in conservation of botanical resources locally, regionally and internationally. This recognition from BGCI reinforces and promotes the value of plant conservation for individual gardens as well as highlighting the combined efforts and goals of institutions across the globe”

Chicago Botanic Garden, USA

“We are honored to be among the first set of botanic gardens accredited as Advanced Conservation Practitioners by BGCI,” said Dr. Kay Havens-Young, Director of Plant Science and Conservation at Chicago Botanic Garden. “Plant conservation is a key part of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s mission, and it is wonderful to have our work recognized by our colleagues. Because the importance of plants is often unrecognized or underappreciated, we will continue to work hard to make sure plants are both conserved and celebrated.”

Denver Botanic Gardens, USA

“It is a great honor to be acknowledged as an Advanced Conservation Practitioner by BGCI,” said Dr. Jennifer Ramp Neale, Director of Research and Conservation at Denver Botanic Gardens. “The acknowledgement of the breadth and depth of our conservation work is greatly appreciated. At Denver Botanic Gardens, we approach all our work with high standards and it is wonderful to be able to use this accreditation to show that our work is valued by, and has impact in, the international community. I expect the Accreditation to be of great assistance in communicating about the value of our work as well as to assist in the acquisition of future funding to expand and maintain our conservation programs.”

Native Plant Trust / Garden in the Woods, USA

“We’re honored to be among the first organizations recognized by BGCI for high professional standards and achievements in our plant conservation program,” said Debbi Edelstein, Executive Director of the New England Wild Flower Society. “The new Advanced Conservation Practitioner accreditation provides an important framework for strengthening conservation initiatives and enhancing collaboration on policies and practices throughout the worldwide network.”

Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium

“Meise Botanic Garden is actively involved in the safeguarding of plant diversity, said Elke Bellefroid, Head of Living Collections and Domain at Meise Botanic Garden. “Our research and collection management contributes to the development of tools for conservation of plants in their natural habitat as well as in our living collections and seed bank. Conservation efforts focus on threatened species of Belgium and Central Africa, as well as on crop wild relatives, including species of banana, coffee, and beans.” “Meise Botanic Garden is honored by the recognition of BGCI as an Advanced Conservation Practitioner, and will continue to increase its efforts in conserving global plant biodiversity through its research, collection and public awareness programs.”

Missouri Botanical Garden, USA

“We are delighted that the ‘Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation’ has been launched and we are proud that the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of its first recipients,” said Dr. Peter Wyse-Jackson, President of Missouri Botanical Garden. “Continuing to raise standards in plant conservation practices at the Garden and worldwide remains a top priority for us.”

Montgomery Botanical Center, USA

“Montgomery is deeply honored to receive this important accreditation,” said Dr. Patrick Griffith, Executive Director of Montgomery Botanical Center. “With a worldwide network of over 500 member sites, BGCI certainly knows botanic gardens! Accreditation as an Advanced Conservation Practitioner fully validates the vital conservation efforts to which we are so committed, and shows the global importance of Montgomery’s work with plants.”

National Botanic Garden of Wales, United Kingdom

“The Advanced Conservation Practitioner accreditation recognises the high quality of the horticulture, conservation and research work undertaken by our staff, over many years, and we are honoured to have our work acknowledged with this award,” says Huw Francis, Director of the National Botanic Garden of Wales. “The accreditation scheme also recognises the importance of botanic gardens as centres of excellence for plant conservation and the international importance of the contribution they make to the protection of endangered species, habitats and ecosystems of the world.”

North Carolina Botanical Garden, USA

“We are thrilled to be accredited as an Advanced Conservation Practitioner by Botanic Gardens Conservation International and have our claim to be “A Conservation Garden” authenticated by the world’s largest plant conservation network,” said Dr. Damon Waitt, Director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden. “I highly recommend the BGCI conservation accreditation process to all the gardens and conservation organizations out there who put into practice what they preach.”

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, United Kingdom

“The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is very proud and delighted to be one of the first botanic gardens to be awarded Advanced Conservation Practitioner accreditation by Botanic Gardens Conservation International,” said Simon Milne, Regius Keeper of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. “Societal need for effective plant conservation has never been greater. This accreditation scheme is a significant step forward in achieving recognition for the critical role played by the global botanic garden network in protecting and rebuilding the world’s natural capital.”

Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia

“The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust is thrilled to received endorsement as BGCI Accredited Advanced Conservation Practitioners alongside other globally respected plant conservation agencies,” said Jimmy Turner, Director of Horticulture. “The three Gardens of the Trust (The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah) continue to use our expertise, experience, infrastructure and established networks to ensure successful plant conservation outcomes in the Asia Pacific region. We commend BGCI on establishing the BGCI Accredited Advanced Conservation Practitioners which recognises the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust’s collections, programs, initiatives and achievements are of international standing.”

State Botanical Garden of Georgia, USA

“This is a fantastic endorsement of the conservation and research efforts at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia,” said Dr. Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, Director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. “The process of preparing for accreditation as an Advanced Conservation Practitioner from Botanic Gardens Conservation International provided valuable tools for evaluating our garden’s collections and programs. We will use this opportunity to build on what we’ve learned about our collections in relation to what is going on around the world, and to achieve strategic objectives for impactful conservation action. Every botanic garden can be a part of the global effort to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem health.”