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, 27 March 2007

Green networking

The other day, me and Julia went into sunny London town for an afternoon of interpretation. Malcolm Whitehead, head of learning at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Barnes, and friend of BGCI, was speaking about the need for interpretation and the pitfalls that face interpreters. he highlighted some of the crucial facts - and foibles about working with interpretation and learning "Could it be that educators are from Mars, curators are from Venus, but each thinks the other is from Uranus...."

The afternoon was set up by the London Parks and Greenspaces forum, with their biodiversity outreach group. I had not come across this network before, but there was a great turn out of people - colleagues from parks, the Environment Agency, museums, wildlife centres, access organisations, science centres and carious consultants and researchers. Speakers included people from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Royal Parks and the Sensory Trust.

The presentations were very interesting - the write up is on the BGCI website, but what I was also struck by was the networking. Participants had lunch and coffee together, and the session was followed by a trip to the pub, as it merged with the monthly social meeting of green networks in London, called Beeridiversional. This regular events sees professionals from all aspects of environmental work, ecological consultants, council conservation officers, recycling community workers, fisheries officers, environmental impact assessors, and of course educators from all over the place.

Beeridiversional is in addition to the other London networks - LEEF - London environmental educators forum, BGEN, Botanic Garden Education Network, various teachers groups, green groups and so on. Green networking is the way forward - to share ideas, contacts, experiences and develop partnerships. These days it is really easy to get involved with similar organisations, have a look at BGCI's website page on education links, which includes a section on networks and associations, for more ideas. Or, if there isn't one near you, set up your own - using the Yahoo groups. this is very easy to use - just go to the site, type in what you are looking for and away you go! Typing in 'environmental education' comes up with nearly 800 groups!

We are going to set up an international email 'list serve' for botanic garden educators (as requested from the education survey) in due course, and of course I'll let you know when that happens. Hopefully educators around the world will be able to use it to contact and query each other - using the best resource we have - the expertise of our members!

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