Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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Sylvia Scholarship Fund

BGCI were delighted to be able to offer scholarships to support delegates to participate in the 10th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens. This funding was been made possible through the Sylvia Scholarship Fund.

Seven young delegates from gardens in Africa, East Asia, Latin America, Russia and the Ukraine were funded by the Sylvia Young Scholarship Foundation to attend the Congress. Afterwards they were asked to report on the benefits and outcomes for them in terms of which Congress sessions they attended, which they most enjoyed, what knowledge and skills they gained, and how they could put lessons learned and knowledge gained into practice in their own countries.

This was the first opportunity for each of these delegates to attend an international garden education congress. They were all very grateful for the opportunity to compare their working practices with those of other gardens, to meet and form connections with other attendees, and to take home ideas and practices for use in their own gardens. 

Particular points which interested the delegates included:

  • Conveying information about the collections to visitors, both by hardware (e.g. plant labels) or digitally.
  • The role of city gardens in conveying a sense of the natural world to urban visitors.
  • Introducing delegates to new types of education programmes; in particular re-motivating the development of new education programmes in gardens with financial difficulties.
  • Being aware of other organisations offering training.

Excursions to Polish gardens and historical sites were much appreciated, especially by non-European delegates.

"I was interested to learn how the staff of the gardens, located in large cities in different countries, solve the problems facing botanical gardens in our time."

"One of our constraints is financial security: funded by an annual grant, we cannot safely make plans beyond one year. This year, we shifted our mindset from 'What can we do if we receive this or that amount on funding?" to 'Where do we want to end up, and how can we get there with or without our current channels of funding?"

"Thanks to our introduction to EarthCorps … one of our employees … will be able to participate in their 6-month exchange program."

"Being able to get to know other Botanic Gardens also allowed me to get new ideas about plant collections that I could implement in my work". 

The full scholarship report can be downloaded here.

Sylvia scholarship recipients 2018