BGCI Education Blog

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Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Wining and dining to promote UK zoos

Monday night saw me at the seat of power in the UK - the Houses of Parliament, at Westminster, for a reception to 'celebrate the work of BIAZA and its membership'. BIAZA is the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria, a hard working network and conservation, education and scientific wildlife charity.

The reception was to bring the work of zoos and their role in conservation to the attention of UK decision makers. By boosting their profile, and explaining exactly what it is that zoos do, with their complimentary activities of scientific research, CEPA and conservation projects, this helps to ensure that policy makers keep zoos in mind as potential partners when developing ideas. The higher the profile, the higher the regard for zoos and their work and the more they will be involved by policy makers as stakeholders in conservation discussion.

This advocacy role of BIAZA is very important. None of their members can reach politically powerful individuals by themselves, but as part of a network, they benefit from strength in numbers. BIAZA provides a good model for anyone who is a member of a national network, whether of botanic gardens or environmental education etc. By working together, gardens can also benefit by being greater than the sum of their parts, particularly on advocacy.

For more information on BIAZA's role and the way it works, download their leaflet and have a look at their website.

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