The National Botanic Garden of Wales has received a global seal of approval for science and horticultural excellence. At the European Congress on Botanic Gardens in Lisbon, Portugal, (May 8th 2018), the Carmarthenshire attraction was one of the first six in the world to earn special accreditation from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).
Director of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Huw Francis, said: “The high quality of the horticulture, conservation and research work that we undertake at the Garden is internationally recognised and makes an important contribution to the protection of endangered species, habitats and ecosystems in Wales and around the world.
“This accreditation acknowledges the hard work and commitment of the Garden staff over many years, and the importance of botanic gardens as centres of excellence in horticulture, research and education to protect and promote biodiversity for the benefit of future generations.”
Curator Will Ritchie also welcomed the news: “We are delighted to have been accredited as a BGCI Botanic Garden,” he said.
“This acknowledges the team’s hard work and commitment to conservation, education and research since opening in May 2000. Everyone involved with the Garden is proud of its achievements as a champion for biodiversity in Wales and internationally. From producing the first national DNA barcode library to forest regeneration in Borneo, the Garden continues to deliver its key objectives of conservation, inspiration and education.”
The following botanic gardens are the first recipients of BGCI’s Botanic Garden Accreditation:
- Wollongong Botanic Garden, Australia
- Gullele Botanic Garden, Ethiopia
- National Botanic Garden of Wales, United Kingdom
- Jardín Botánico Universitario, Puebla, Mexico
- Huntingdon Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, USA
- University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana, Slovenia
This international accolade comes at a time when the Garden’s visitor numbers are soaring – up 41 per cent in the past two years – and the Garden’s new attraction, the British Bird of Prey Centre, is poised to launch. Staff have also been celebrating landing two multi-million-pound projects to further develop the 568-acre site.
Director, Huw Francis added: “This excellent news comes hot on the heels of our 17-year high in visitor numbers for last year and just as our £7.2 million Regency Restoration project enters its critical construction phase. Our £2.3m Growing the Future project began this year as well, and is aimed at championing Welsh horticulture and training people across Wales to grow their own food and protect pollinators.”
BGCI Accreditation distinguishes botanic gardens from non-botanic gardens and recognises achievements in plant conservation. The scheme aims to raise awareness and recognition of the activities that botanic gardens do exceptionally well to policymakers and funders.
Accreditation can result in tangible benefits for participating gardens – such as recognition, peer review, creating standards for excellence, and funding – and will act as a motivator for botanic garden leadership. BGCI will provide three different accreditations:
- BGCI Botanic Garden Accreditation
- BGCI Conservation Practitioner Accreditation
- BGCI Advanced Conservation Practitioner Accreditation
The BGCI Botanic Garden Accreditation, which has been developed in collaboration with a number of BGCI member gardens, is aimed at botanical institutions wishing to establish their credentials as botanic gardens adhering to internationally recognised standards. The BGCI Botanic Garden Accreditation assesses and places a high value on the unique skills, knowledge and data in botanic gardens. This accreditation is open to both BGCI members and non-members.