BGCI Education Blog

We've set up this blog to talk about education, the environment, plants, the universe... oh yes, and botanic gardens. You can join in by leaving comments and signing up for email updates.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Please note that this blog is no longer being maintained. For the latest information from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), please see our website:


Monday, 4 February 2008

Global EARTH HOUR March 29th- Turn off your lights!

earthhour, earth hour, turn off your lights, lights, events, one hour

About a year ago, Sydney started a trend of turning off your lights for one hour in a show of support for protecting our environment. Soon after, London, San Francisco quickly followed suit. One year later, the organizers of Sydney’s Earth Hour feel that one city at a time doesn’t really cut it anymore. Which is why this year’s event is going global, with cities from every continent, including the US, participating in what promises to be the largest ever show of solidarity in the world on March 29th for Earth Hour.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

education research resources

Another couple of resources, but this time focused on research of environmental education.

Action research - improving learning through the environment is a "compilation of ideas for carrying out action research in order to improve learning through educational work in the environment".

Produced by the National Association of Field Studies Officers (NAFSO), it includes chapters on different methods of evaluation, such as letters and concept maps, evaluating fieldwork, residential courses and community-based environmental education.

It is available through the NAFSO website

ISBN: 1 901 642 10 00

Edited by: Adrian Clark, Helen Parry, Clare Shorter

Proceedings of the VIIIth Conference on Environmental Education in Europe 'Learning for a sustainable future: the role of communication, ethics and social learning in environmental education'

Editor: Mark Alderweireldt

CEEE Ghent, 2002

Although 5 years old now, this set of proceedings includes useful papers on EfS, focusing in Europe, with case studies and research. For more information about the CEEE conferences and the organising group, the European Foundation for Education and Sustainable Development, have a look at their website.

hasta luego from sarah k

Well, after four years of working for BGCI, it is time I was off. It is my last day in the office today, clearing my desk, sorting out my files and generally trying to create a semblance of order instead of the chaos that has ruled my workspace.

I am leaving to take up a post developing the education department of a new botanic garden in Oman, I shall be moving out there in February and will be based there for between 1 - 5 years. The garden does not physically exist at the moment, it is still early stages, but is due to open some time in 2010. Keep your eyes on the BGCI news pages for the latest.

I shall be keeping in touch as much as possible, there is much I need to learn from colleagues about the practical aspects of BG education. Please do stay in contact, and I hope to see everyone at the next BGCI conferences! Until then, all the best, and I leave you in Julia's tender care.


Monday, 14 January 2008

The Greatest Race on Earth - environmental pledges

Just a quick snippet - standard chartered bank have funded a website with a handy personal carbon calculator, complete with country-specific suggestions for improvements and comparison with the average individual carbon emissions. There is also a good series of animations, leading you through different aspects of living, work, transport, home and leisure with ideas and how to reduce your environmental impact. Very attractive and easy to use. Have a look at the Race for a Living Planet site. You can also pledge to make environmental improvements, and see what other people in other countries are pledging.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Mini Madagascar and plants in the zoo

A little while ago I received a package from Roger Graf, the head of education at Zurich Zoo. He had read the issue of Roots on Botanic Gardens and Zoos (Roots 1:2 Botanic gardens and zoos; synergies for the future) and was interested in the role that zoos and zoo educators can, and do, play for plant conservation. He sent me the very attractive and interesting guidebook to their new Masoala Rainforest exhibition, a partnership project between Zurich Zoo and the Parc National Masoala in Madagascar, a real hotspot for biodiversity.

The guidebook is extremely attractive, with fold out maps of the exhibition and the area of Madagascar it is based on, information about the national park, rainforests and the conservation issues facing the country, plus details on the development of the new exhibition. The main body of the guide is on the plants of the rainforest - illustrated within the exhibition. Each species has a lovely illustration, description including physiological, evolutionary, historical and ethnobotanical information and portrait including range, relatives and economic utility. There are numerous colour photos throughout, with text boxes describing recipes and cultural details to bring the rainforest to life.

Further sections describe the animal exhibits within the mini Masoala Rainforest and outline what can be done to help conserve the rainforest.

The book is a lovely example of how a guidebook can be extended, to provide so much more than information about a given exhibition, but become an introduction to an ecosystem, its importance and threats and the organisms within it. More information about Zurich's Masoala Rainforest can be found on their website and the guidebook can be ordered through their online shop.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

PlantsCafe - open for business!

A fantastic new resource, desgiend specifically for botanic garden educators, has been launched on-line. The PlantsCafe is part of the european Union funded Plant Scientists Investigate project. Four botnaic gardens, Natural Sceince museum garden in Trento, Italy, the University of Sofia botanic agrden in Bulgaria, Unvieristy of Innsbruck Botanic Garden in Austra and the royal Botanic garden in Kew have been workgn iwth teh Institue of Education in London to produce materisl to encourage teachersto ork with plants and brign their pupisl to botanic gardens.

Each fo the sites has produed a set of materials to use toexplore one of the four themes of the plant learngin curriculum produced

- experiments about plant growht

- plants as food

- plants and art

- conservation of plants

Each theme have up to 12 activiites, soem for useint eh classroom and some for use in teh garden, to explore the subject. The activities are descirbed in detail in free to download PDFs