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.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Parallel universes, awards and acting like wolves

I was at the British and Irish Aquarium and Zoo Association (BIAZA) annual communication and education conference last week. I'm one of the external judges for their education wards - they have categories for formal and general public education. I think the awards are a great idea, they help to promote and share best practice among educators, raise the profile of education within a site and acknowledge the hard work that education departments put into their programmes. Plus of course, winning wards is always great for media interest and for funders to see. Details of the 2005 and 2006 winners are on the BIAZA website.

Other than the award ceremony, there was also four days packed with site visits and paper presentations. Of particular interest were some marketing presentations about using the Internet and creating profiles for sites online - making the most of the Internet as a space to create presence for your organisation. Any institution can make a facebook profile, a myspace page, upload videos onto youtube and of course write blogs!

The Living Rainforest director, Karl Hansen, presented on their plans to develop the world's first carbon neutral glasshouse - a very exciting scheme, and one which fits in very well with the need to improve the sustainability of botanic garden sites. They are looking for corporate partners to raise the final portion of funding to ensure the project goes ahead. Details are on the website.

We also took part in a fantastic 'Speaking Wolf' workshop, by education award winner Wildwood, and heard all about an evaluation programme that Dutch zoos have been taking part in. I spoke about the award scheme and some of the best submissions, along with how to develop a good submission for the 2008 awards.

It would be very interesting to hear how you feel about the idea of awards - do you think botanic garden education staff would be interested in submitting their programmes for consideration if BGCI set up an awards programme? Let us know!

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