BGCI Education Blog

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Tuesday, 16 October 2007

pizza, pasta, ice cream - oh yes and a botanical conference

I've just got back from a few days in the delightful town of Palermo in Sicily, where the Italian Botanic Society had their 102nd meeting. There was a good representation by BGCI and BGCI members at the congress - Sara Oldfield (BGCI secretary general) made a rousing speech on the need for botanic gardens to become more involved with dealing with climate change, I talked about the global snapshot of education in botanic gardens and presented a few case studies (RBG Melbourne, RBG Cranbourne, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Eden). BGCI had suggested some speakers to the wonderful congress organisers - so Dave Aplin from Meisse, Adil Guner from Nezahat Gokyijit Botanic Garden in Turkey and David Rae from RBG Edinburgh all presented on the latest from their gardens.

David and Dave struck a common chord actually - the need for gardens to really think about what they are doing and where they are going in a clear, objective and focused way. Meisse has been reviving its collection of succulents - and found they need to strip down about 2/3 of thier collection to re-start the succulent conservation programme (see Dave's article on the BGCI website), and also their participation in the indices seminum.

David was talking about the master planning being carried out at RBG Edinburgh, looking at not only the scientific and conservation aspects of the collection but also taking a landscape approach. They have produced clear catalogues of the living collections and a collections policy so that all the plants are adequately described and to ensure that the collection is relevant to the GSPC.

Their presentations really highlighted that gardens need to be constantly reviewing and evaluating their work and ensure that they are indeed working towards clear aims and objectives. I don't think it is any different for education programmes either - have you reviewed your education provision recently? Let us know what you found out and what changes you made.

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