Building Botanical Bridges

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The Botanical Bridges Conference, in association with the Caribbean and Central American Botanic Garden Network (CCABGN) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is to be held in Panama from the 19th to 23rd September 2016.

The conference will be predominantly held at the Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal at the entrance to the Panama Canal with easy access to explore Panama City attractions such as the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Metropolitan Nature Park and Casco Viejo, and the Frank Gehry- designed Biodiversity Museum, the Biomuseo. More than 30 gardens from across the Caribbean, Central America and the USA plan to attend.

It is hoped that 2 representatives from each garden will participate, one member of senior staff and a member of the horticultural team, to bring a real depth of knowledge and experience to the conference.

Organizations in Panama supporting the Conference include the Panama City Mayor´s office, Summit Municipal Park, the Biomuseo and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The aim is to form friendships and partnerships between gardens while learning from each other’s experiences in the practical elements of botanical horticulture. This will be formalised by developing an action plan for the CCABGN, including 1) update of contact details of members and related BGCI GardenSearch entries; 2) establishment of a CCABGN working practices document outlining terms of reference and related resource needs; 3) enhancement of communications and internet visibility; and 4) strengthening of resource mobilization for new capacity building, species recovery, habitat restoration and environmental education projects.

Meeting face to face will be a major step in building Botanical Bridges across the region and strengthening the network as a resource for the future. Through the technical sessions and the specialist training provided you will be able to develop new and existing skills to benefit your botanic garden.

Presentations- The conference will include a mixture of presentations, panel sessions, workshops and discussions. On the first day, there will be welcome addresses and a keynote talk on the challenges of botanic garden management in the 21st century, and short presentations (10min) from attending gardens outlining the aims, objectives and future aspirations for their gardens. Conference topics A full conference schedule will be developed in due course. Current topics include:

  • Botanic garden and collection management
  • Fundraising for botanic gardens
  • Training botanic garden staff and developing internships and exchanges
  •  Education and community outreach in botanic gardens (with a focus on biodiversity conservation)
  •  Plant procurement and propagation of native species, and devising a collections policy.
  • Developing the action plan for a sustainable network.

We are looking for people to participate in these sessions, and give introductory presentations. Please email botanicalbridges@gmail.com if you are interested. In the evenings there will be the opportunity for individuals to carry out informal presentations on topics of their choice (example – medicinal plants of Belize).

Simultaneous interpretation in English and Spanish will be available at the plenary sessions.

After Conference Training – Seed Conservation Techniques  – After the conference, for no additional fee, there will be a 3 day course on seed conservation delivered by staff from BGCI, as part of the Global Seed Conservation Challenge. Currently limited to one person per institution.

This 3 day course consists of:

2 days theory

  • Planning seed collections
  •  Assessing plant populations Seed collection and herbarium techniques, seed cleaning, drying and storage

1 day

  •  Field work (putting your new skills into practice)

Please indicate as soon as possible your interest in staying for this course, 26th-28th September.

Accommodation -Country Inn and Suites Rooms are available for US$93.50 per room per night for 2 people, with 2 Queen Size beds, the price of the room includes breakfast. For an additional US$20 per night you can book a room with a balcony and views of the Panama Canal. Lunch and refreshments are included in the registration fee.

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Registration –  Early bird registration – US$170 (before 31/04/2016)                                                                             Standard registration – US$250

These costs will cover full participation in the 5 day conference, conference materials, lunch, refreshments and excursions. It will also cover participation in the 3 day training course on seed conservation as long as places are available.

Please allow US$50.00 for transfers to and from the international Tocume international airport.

Scholarships -Some partial scholarships will be available based on individual circumstances.

If you have any questions or would like to attend please get in touch Botanicalbridges@gmail.com

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