The 2016 Longwood Graduate Program International Experience
Exploring Return on Mission & Civic Responsibility in Australian Public Horticulture
2016 Longwood Graduate Program International Experience: Exploring Return on Mission & Civic Responsibility in Australian Public Horticulture
Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Longwood Gardens Class of 2017 Longwood Graduate Program Fellows Grace Parker, Project Leader Elizabeth Barton Alice Edgerton Erin Kinley Tracy Qiu
TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary Acknowledgements
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INTRODUCTION International Experience Goals Public Horticulture in Australia
GARDENS VISITED: BIOGRAPHIES AND MISSION STATEMENTS Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands (BGCP) Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah
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Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Botanic Gardens of South Australia Adelaide Botanic Gardens Mount Lofty Botanic Garden Wittunga Botanic Garden Booderee National Park & Botanic Gardens The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Taronga Zoo OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Longwood Gardensâ€™ 2016-2022 Strategic Plan Goal 4: Return on Mission Summary & Recommendations Goal 5: Civic Responsibility Community Engagement Summary & Recommendations Environmental Stewardship Summary & Recommendations Accessibility Summary & Recommendations CONCLUSION KEY RECOMMENDATIONS
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APPENDIX A: Contact Information of Australian Institutions
APPENDIX B: Visit Summary and Observations January 12: Taronga Zoo January 13: Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney January 14: Booderee National Park & Botanic Gardens January 15: Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah January 16: Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan January 18: Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne January 19: Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne January 21-22: Botanic Gardens of South Australia
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APPENDIX C: Shared Materials Taronga Conservation Society Australia Strategic Plan Excerpt Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands Strategic Plan Excerpt Botanic Gardens and State Herbariam of South Australia Strategic Plan Excerpt
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Fellows of the Longwood Graduate Class of 2017 traveled to Australia for two weeks in January 2016. Dr. Brian Trader, Domestic and International Studies Coordinator and InterimDirector of the Longwood Graduate Program, accompanied the Fellows. In alignment with Longwood Gardens’ forthcoming 2016-2022 strategic plan, the Fellows built an itinerary and research plan focused on specific goals. The following statement of purpose directed their trip:
During the 2016 International Experience, the Longwood Graduate Program Fellows strive to advance the 2016-2022 Strategic Plan of Longwood Gardens through on-site study and documentation of return on mission evaluation methods and the concept of civic responsibility with an emphasis on community engagement, environmental stewardship, and accessibility in Australia.
Return on mission is the non-financial gain to an institution, as well as to society, associated with the impact of an organization’s mission driven activities. Goal number four of Longwood Gardens’ strategic plan is “Measure and communicate the value and impact of our mission.”, including evaluating how other organizations disseminate their impact messages. Through research, visits and interviews guided by a series of prepared questions of Australian institutions, the Fellows have developed recommendations to advance Longwood Gardens’ strategic plan. In support of goal number four: 1. Develop simple tools to share Longwood’s plan and progress. Distill the strategic plan into a scalable poster format and create an easily digestible yearly report card to measure growth. Civic responsibility is the duty of actively participating and engaging within the surrounding community. For the purposes of Longwood Gardens, the main objective relating to civic responsibility was to observe levels of community engagement, environmental stewardship and accessibility. This directly supports goal number five of Longwood Gardens’ strategic plan: “Demonstrate our civic responsibility by advancing our commitment and leadership in environmental stewardship, community engagement, and accessibility”. In support of goal number 5, the Fellows recommend that Longwood Gardens consider the following: 2. Inspire guests to become better environmental stewards. Through interpretation and education, provide guests with the knowledge and tools to help them address climate change, conserve native species, and protect the environment beyond their experience at Longwood. By giving guests accurate information and meaningful advice, Longwood can help visitors take action on environmental stewardship in their own lives.
3. Tell a more complete story. Australian public gardens created space for previously unrecognized history and stories, such as the horticultural traditions of Indigenous Australians. Longwood could benefit from identifying untold stories in the history of its gardens, and use these stories to add depth and dimension to the visitor experience.
4. Continue to strategically expand partnerships in education and outreach programming. Longwood’s current partnerships parallel partnerships benchmarked in Australian public gardens. Deliberate and strategic expansion in this area could provide more opportunities for programs that engage underserved audiences and younger generations.
5. Determine Longwood Gardens’ capacity to accommodate accessibility needs. Before initiating new efforts, an internal assessment should be completed to determine the effectiveness of Longwood’s existing strategy for accessibility, including established partnerships, number of complimentary tickets distributed annually, etc. Then, assess existing resources, such as costs and staff time, to discern capacity of accessibility efforts.
Through on-site visits and research in Australia, the Longwood Graduate Fellows were able to gather information and fulfill the goals set at the beginning of the project. Not only has this research given Longwood Gardens greater knowledge of Australia’s strategic efforts to measure success and demonstrate civic responsibility, it has also provided the Fellows with a global perspective on horticulture. This research has strengthened relationships, identified new partnerships, and created potential for future collaborations.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Longwood Graduate Program Class of 2017 would like to thank the following individuals and institutions for their generous assistance in planning and execution of the 2016 International Experience: • Greg Bourke, Curator Manager, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah • Andrew Carrick, Manager, Collections and Horticulture, Botanic Gardens of South Australia • Marnie Conley, Director of Marketing and Communications and Longwood Graduate Program Co-Lead, Longwood Gardens • Kim Ellis, Executive Director of Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands • Dr. Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria • Cameron Kerr, Director and Chief Executive of Taronga Conservation Society Australia • Sharon Loving, Director of Horticulture, Longwood Gardens • Dr. Doug Needham, Director of Education, Longwood Gardens • Dr. Mark McDonnell, Director of the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology • Stig Pedersen, Acting Botanic Gardens Curator, Booderee Botanic Gardens • Emma Pollard, Taronga Institute Project and Business Manager • Paul Redman, Executive Director, Longwood Gardens • Kylie Regester, Manager Public Programs, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Melbourne Gardens • John Siemon, Curator Manager, Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan • Dr. Brian Trader, Domestic and International Studies Coordinator and Interim-Director of Longwood Graduate Program, Longwood Gardens • Jimmy Turner, Director, Horticulture Operations, BGCP • Sharon Willoughby, Manager Public Programs, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Cranbourne Gardens The Longwood Graduate Program Class of 2017 would also like to express their gratitude for the continuous support from both Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware. It is through this unparalleled generosity that the Fellows are able to learn, grow, and shape the future of public horticulture.
INTRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE GOALS
The Longwood Graduate Program is a two-year Master of Science Fellowship that prepares students for a leadership career in public horticulture. The program was established in 1967, and over the years has advanced graduates to leadership positions in horticultural institutions around the world. The Fellows in the Program take courses at the University of Delaware, conduct thesis research, and participate in several experiential projects. One such project, undertaken by students in their first year, is the International Experience. The Longwood Graduate Class of 2017 (Fellows) traveled to Australia for two weeks in January 2016. Dr. Brian Trader, Domestic and International Studies Coordinator and Interim-Director of the Longwood Graduate Program, accompanied the Fellows. In alignment with Longwood Gardensâ€™ forthcoming 2016-2022 strategic plan, the Fellows built an itinerary and research plan focused on specific goals. The following statement of purpose directed their trip: During the 2016 International Experience, the Longwood Graduate Program Fellows strive to advance the 2016-2022 Strategic Plan of Longwood Gardens through on-site study and documentation of return on mission evaluation methods and the concept of civic responsibility with an emphasis on community engagement, environmental stewardship, and accessibility in Australia. As indicated in the statement of purpose, the Fellows aim to provide insight and recommendations to support two of the Strategic Planâ€™s five major goals: Goal 4: Measure and communicate the value and impact of our mission Goal 5: Demonstrate our civic responsibility by advancing our commitment and leadership in environmental stewardship, community engagement, and accessibility. In addition to providing specific recommendations for return on mission and civic responsibility, key recommendations indicate main takeaways from this study that may benefit Longwood Gardens.
PUBLIC HORTICULTURE IN AUSTRALIA Why Australia? When tasked with choosing the 2016 International Experience destination, the First Year Fellows developed a list of goals to guide their selection process. Through this experience, the Fellows aimed to: • Enhance channels for mutual benefit sharing • Provide an international lens to understand transformational issues in horticulture • Facilitate connections for future development and exploration Australia was selected as an ideal destination due to its many established education and community engagement programs in public gardens and its analogous nature to the United States. Both countries possess rich biodiversity and natural resources, as well as complicated histories. The Fellows aimed to study Australian gardens’ methods of communication and interpretation to convey such complex ideas to the public. Given the two countries cultural similarities in early history, age, and common language, abstract ideas such as return on mission could be discussed without risk of misinterpretation. Gardens and Government Despite many shared traits, the landscape of public horticulture in Australia differs significantly from that of the United States in certain ways. First, public gardens are managed and funded through various levels of federal, state, and local government. Government funding and management resources are often shared among multiple gardens, which comprise one umbrella organization with a shared mission. The alignment of multiple gardens under a single organization is a recent restructuring effort to which many public gardens are still adapting, according to various Australian garden leaders. Figure 1 is an example of this type of structure. New South Wales Government Office of Environment and Heritage Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands
Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney & Domain
Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan
Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney operated independently from nearby gardens, Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. However, in 1980, resources among the gardens, specifically administrative staff, were consolidated and streamlined to form a unified organization: the Royal Botanic Gardens Domain and Trust (RBGDT). In March of 2014, another merger of resources occurred when the RBGDT and the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust became a larger entity known today as the Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands. Though one Executive Director manages these many sites, each trust serves its own mission. Both trust boards report to the Minister of Environment and Heritage while garden and administrative staff are employed by the Office of Environment and Heritage. Ultimately, the New South Wales (NSW) Government manages the operations of these entities on the state level. Next, according to several Australian garden contacts, philanthropy is not as prevalent a trend in the funding of public gardens. Unlike select gardens in the United States, Australiaâ€™s public gardens are usually independent of family legacies of wealth. Gardens must compete with other cultural amenities for government funding. This drives efforts to diversify revenue streams and the development of strategic partnerships. In this respect, public gardens in the US and Australia are similar. The notable difference is that the budget is ultimately tied to the current governmentâ€™s agenda and political climate. Public gardens must be flexible to accommodate frequent change. Finally, because public gardens are government owned, they are considered to be community amenities and are free to the public. Unlimited admission may seem to be the key to numerous visitors. However, Australian public gardens continue to face additional accessibility challenges (See Accessibility). To provide case studies more comparable to Longwood Gardensâ€™ admission model, the Fellows also visited Taronga Zoo and Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens.
GARDENS VISITED: BIOGRAPHIES AND MISSION STATEMENTS Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands (BGCP) The Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands is the umbrella organization for three gardens visited by the Fellows, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, as well as Centennial Park, Moore Park, and Queens Park. Mission Statement: To connect people with plants through imaginative horticulture, beautiful landscapes, transformative learning experiences, and cultural events. Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Organization Biography: RBG Sydney is located on the site of the first European-style farm in the colony attempted by settlers in 1788. The farm, was unsuccessful and in 1816, the site was established as a botanic garden. Since then, the city has grown around the garden’s 158 acres so that it is now on the edge of Sydney’s busy central business district and only a short walk from the Sydney Opera House. Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah Organization Biography: The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is 105 km west of Sydney in the beautiful Blue Mountains. Under new management by BGCP, the garden has changed it’s name from Mount Tomah Botanic Garden, to the current Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. The garden sits within the Greater Blue Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Area, one of the largest and most intact tracts of protected bushland in Australia. Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Organization Biography: Opened in 1988 as a native plant garden, the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan covers 416 hectares south of Sydney, making it the largest public garden on the continent. On site features include the award winning Bowden Education Centre (2007), the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable living (2011), and the 2013 opening of the Australian PlantBank. Originally the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens, the garden, along with Mount Tomah, became integrated under the Centennial Parklands in 2014.
Botanic Gardens of South Australia Botanic Gardens of South Australia encompasses Adelaide Botanic Garden, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and Wittunga Botanic Garden. Mission Statement: On behalf of the people of South Australia, manage the natural and cultural resources of the Botanic Gardens & State Herbarium to advance plant conservation and sustainable horticultural practices, and to enrich society. Adelaide Botanic Gardens Organization Biography: Adelaide Botanic Garden is located on123 acres in the heart of downtown Adelaide. Open to the public since 1857, the garden includes the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, and the historically important Victorian Palm House. Mount Lofty Botanic Garden Organization Biography: Proposed in 1911 as a “cool climate arboretum”, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden opened its 97 hectares to the public in 1977. Presently, Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens has a fully wheelchair accessible trail along the lake, and has recently opened the Chris Steele Scott Pavilion. Wittunga Botanic Garden Organization Biography: Wittunga began as a private formal English garden in 1902, was bequeathed to the Botanic Gardens of South Australia in 1965, and eventually opened to the public in 1975. Today, Wittunga Botanic Garden’s 35 acres primarily serves as a public green space for the local community.
Booderee National Park & Botanic Gardens Organization Biography: Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens, located 3 hours south of Sydney, is the only Aboriginal-owned and managed garden in Australia. The organization is housed within the Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage. In 1995 the land was returned to the local Wreck Bay indigenous people. Soon after this transfer, Booderee Botanic Gardens began to focus on growing and interpreting native plants. Mission Statement Booderee is an area, which forms part of a network of sites, places and landscapes (both on land and in the water) that have helped provide generations with the knowledge and understanding of how to properly manage and live with these lands and waters.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria RBGV emcompasses both Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne and Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. It also incorporates the National Herbarium of Victoria and the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, based at The University of Melbourne. Mission Statement Every interaction with us advances the understanding and appreciation of plants. Our mission is to use our two remarkable gardens, our innovative science, and our skills at sharing knowledge, to help the community understand and value plants. Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne Organization Biography: The Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne was, established in 1970. The 365-acre site contains remnant native bushland, heathlands, wetlands, and woodlands; it is located in Victoria about one hour outside of Melbourne and is intended to complement the larger garden in Melbourne with a display of Australian native plants and ecosystems. Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Organization Biography: Originally founded in 1846, RBG Melbourne is a programmingorientated garden that also features Australiaâ€™s largest herbarium and the Australian Research Center for Urban Ecology (ARCUE). Located near the heart of Melbourne and its central business district, RBG Melbourne covers 94 acres.
Taronga Zoo Organization Biography: Taronga Zoological Park Trust was officially established in 1916. In 1967, it shifted its focus to highlight scientific research, conservation and education. Sister site Taronga Western Plains Zoo, located in Dubbo, opened in 1977. Today, the two branches comprise Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Mission Statement Tarongaâ€™s vision is a shared future for wildlife and people. Our role in conservation is to create direct and positive connections between wildlife and people. Through our efforts we protect endangered species, increase understanding of wildlife and inspire community action.
OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS LONGWOOD GARDENS’ 2016-2022 STRATEGIC PLAN
As indicated in the statement of purpose, the Fellows aim to provide insight and recommendations to support two of the Strategic Plan’s five major goals: • Goal 4: Measure and communicate the value and impact of our mission • Goal 5: Demonstrate our civic responsibility by advancing our commitment and leadership in environmental stewardship, community engagement, and accessibility. In addition to providing specific recommendations for return on mission and civic responsibility, broad recommendations indicate key takeaways that may benefit Longwood Gardens.
GOAL 4: RETURN ON MISSION
Return on mission (ROM) is the non-financial gain to an institution associated with the impact of the goals and purpose as stated in the organization’s mission. It involves looking beyond the fiscal bottom line to address different objectives. A. Strategic Plan Many organizations visited in Australia have a strong culture of strategic planning and there are some commonalities between their strategic planning strategies. Most gardens were choosing to use short-term plans of about 5 years. Given global instability, garden leadership is concerned about the relevance of a long-term strategic plan for their organization. Institutions were aware that strategic planning is valuable at many levels and they distribute their plan in multiple formats and lengths to accomodate the varying needs of internal and external audiences. Several organizations presented their strategic plan on an 11”x17” poster for ease of distribution and assimilation of information. Taronga Zoo’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan was instrumental in providing the foundation and direction for the new 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. The organization’s Vision: “Securing a shared future for wildlife and people” lead directly to its Role: “As leaders in conservation, we protect wildlife and empower people to secure a sustainable future for our planet”.
At the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney, five-year strategic plans are currently being used to achieve short-term goals for the gardens. The latest of these, their 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, is neatly summed up on an attractive 11x17â€? poster that can be easily distributed to and interpreted by board members and other stakeholders (for example, see pages 47 and 48). Because government funding has been steadily decreasing, the first priority of the newest plan is to grow and diversify funding sources. The Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne is currently working on a new 10 year strategic plan, the longest-term plan discussed during this trip, composed of short high level summaries. The previous plan was created 20 years ago. The process is led by a working group composed of 8 people. They are using an external consultant who specializes in socially inclusive planning and are reviewing their organizational structure. Information has been gathered through in person meetings and workshops in addition to online work. One example of a suggested change in the plan is the need for a dedicated social media officer. B. Measuring and Evaluating ROM Almost all organizations are engaging in the basic minimums for quantifying their return on mission through attendance counts and anecdotal evidence. For most institutions visited, the next step forward seemed to be distributing some type of survey. Taronga Zoo partnered with a local university to disseminate a basic visitor survey over the course of two years. The survey was active for a finite period but the results are continuously mined for new information. RBG Cranbourne conducted a series of surveys to learn if the Australian Garden (Figures 2 & 3), which is planted with Australian natives, effectively changes home gardening behaviors. They began with intercept surveys in the garden and followed up with a postal survey. They also had staff drive around and observe local gardens in order to assess the accuracy and representativeness of the responses. A Friendâ€™s Group funded RBG Cranbourneâ€™s research with a $26,000 grant.
In the case of advocacy, where the organization is focusing on changing visitor behaviors related to a particular issue, there is an opportunity for observing and quantifying this behavioral change. An example with concrete results is the “Mobile Phone Recycling Program – We Need Your Phones!”, at The Taronga Zoo. The success of this program was measured by counting the number of pre-paid mailers distributed and the number of phones actually returned using the mailers. One important aspect of this program is that measurement parameters were established when the program was being designed. Another way to evaluate ROM or the success of an organization is to seek accreditation from a governing body. The Botanic Gardens of South Australia sought accreditation through the US Association of Museums. This process held them accountable to formalized collections and evaluations policies, which are laid out in detail and submitted to the governing body. The Royal Botanic Garden Melbourne has employed an interesting tactic for assessing their programs: pre-evaluation. Staff examined academic research on behavioral change in children and learned that programming for young children yields the greatest influence on future behaviors. They concentrate their programming on options for young children. It is worthwhile to note that performance-monitoring software can aid in the collection of ROM data and reporting of milestones across the organization and between departments. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is evaluating the use of Rocket Software to accomplish this task. C. Communicating Mission Value and Impact Some of the host organizations made use of their website or web presence to communicate program impact and ROM. For example, the Taronga Zoo hosts a spectrum of blogs from past initiatives, which are not managed by zoo staff but rather those partnerships that were initiated by the zoo and now take on a life and power of their own. The Community Greening program, which houses a range of activities to promote communal garden projects through the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, seeks to build on the organization’s mission and move impact “beyond the garden walls.” This program is connected to the mission, highly visible to the community, and provides a yearly report detailing outcomes from their efforts. The major outlet for communicating ROM, impact, and programmatic success is for an organization to report back to their governing body and funders. In Australia, the government provides the majority of funding and exists as a crucial stakeholder.
RETURN ON MISSION SUMMARY Throughout their travels, the Fellows found that several Australian gardens were taking strategic steps to measure return on mission. Tools such as short, flexible strategic plans and accreditation from a governing body have offered insight in understanding how well a garden has communicated its mission value and impact.
RETURN ON MISSION RECOMMENDATIONS Distill the strategic plan into a scalable poster format (it can be two sided). Poster plans can be read quickly, draw attention to key points, and are accessible to a wider audience. Also, interpret strategic plans for multiple audiences (i.e. internal and external use). Create an easily comprehensible yearly report card. Each year Longwood Gardens accomplishes many strategic plan goals. Compiled highlights could accentuate these accomplishments and would be valuable for comparing progress made over several years. Proactively set performance metrics at the design stage of a project. Designing measurement strategies before a project is implemented offers the opportunity to collect relevant data, identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and quantify success. Combine survey strategies to enhance value of survey efforts. Different types of surveys, i.e. intercept and email, add depth and value when combined. A mixed strategy could allow Longwood Gardens to monitor specific concepts, trends, or behaviors. Seek organizational accreditation from a governing body such as the American Alliance of Museums. Accreditation offers credibility and value to funders, policy makers, insurers, community and peers. It can be a powerful tool to leverage change and helps facilitate relationships between institutions. Formalized collections and evaluations policies, which are laid out in detail and submitted to the governing body provide an additional level of accountability and aid in quantifying success. Develop an online space where Longwood can start a conversation but constituents continue the conversation. Establishing a space where people can continue to discuss projects outside of your organization allows you to both communicate and observe impact.
GOAL 5: CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY
Civic responsibility is an institution’s duty to actively participate and engage within the surrounding community. For the purposes of Longwood Gardens, the main objective relating to civic responsibility was to observe levels of community engagement, environmental stewardship, and accessibility. This directly supports goal number five of Longwood Gardens’ strategic plan: “Demonstrate our civic responsibility by advancing our commitment and leadership in environmental stewardship, community engagement, and accessibility”.
The core value of community engagement falls under Goal 5: Civic Engagement of Longwood’s Strategic Plan. The goal states that “We strive to ensure that we are relevant, accessible and welcoming to everyone.” Some manifestations of these goals include attracting previously underserved populations and accessibility for lower income communities. The Australian public gardens in this report are either public, government funded operations, or have strong ties to federal, state, or municipal departments. As public not-for-profit organizations, many of these gardens have strategic goals that emphasized the importance of engaging existing audiences, as well as developing new audiences from underrepresented groups. Overall, interpretation and/or programming were large focal points of the gardens studied. The formal and informal aspects of engagement, education, and communication were all considered in this assessment. Key takeaways included the integration of Australian Indigenous peoples and Indigenous traditional knowledge, the development of training and mentorship programs, and the use of technology in interpretation and engagement. A. Involvement of Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Indigenous Australians, more specifically Aboriginal people and Torres-Strait Islanders, are the traditional stewards of the land, including the sites that are now public gardens. Some gardens have formal acknowledgement of this fact in the form of interpretive signage; Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah acknowledges the Darung people and Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney acknowledges the Cadigal people. For a large part of Australian history, Indigenous Australians were not recognized as citizens, with all people finally receiving the right to vote in 1962. In 1967, a landmark vote with a 90% majority finally included Indigenous Australians in Commonwealth laws and electoral counts, as well as removing clauses in the Australian Constitution that allowed discrimination. From the 1950s to the 1970s, activists campaigned for these rights and others: equal wages, better living conditions, land rights, and recognition/compensation for damage done to Indigenous communities. In 1996, the first National Reconciliation week was held, intended as a time to “reflect on achievements so far and on what must still be done to achieve reconciliation”, and a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples was made by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.
Presently, almost all all of the gardens in this case study engaged in various levels of educational, training, or interpretive programming that acknowledge Australia’s Indigenous peoples and their history. Gardens such as RBG Sydney, Royal Botanic Garden Melbourne, and Booderee Botanic Gardens feature traditional plant knowledge tours led by employees of indigenous background. Other gardens have integrated traditional Indigenous Australian knowledge into their garden designs through trails, garden beds, and informal interpretive walks. Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, for example, features edible culinary plants such as the finger lime in their Fruit Loop Trail, which encourages the exploration of indigenous food systems. Booderee, the only Aboriginal owned public garden in the world, focuses on the usage of Australian plants by the Wreck Bay aboriginal community, particularly in its new medicinal garden. Another important aspect of engaging this community are the gardens which have participated in acknowledging the damage, violence, and trauma done to theIndigenous peoples of Australia. Memorials, events, and exhibits honestly speak to the dark history of Australia’s colonization, and do not shy away from this part of Australia’s past. Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan has built a peaceful and meditative garden around its Stolen Generations Memorial. This sandstone sculpture is dedicated to the loss suffered by Indigenous Australian communities during colonization, as generations of children were taken by religious missionaries to become “civilized”, a haunting parallel of North America’s relationship to its indigenous peoples. The RBG Melbourne hosts reconciliation based programming and activities during the week of Reconciliation Day in the winter. The Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney is very notable in this area of acknowledgement. Their Cadi Jam Ora garden and interpretive walk (Figure 4) interpretes the Indigenous Australian cultural heritage of the land throughout settlement and colonization. The garden design, educational programs, guided tours (Figure 5) and publications were planned with the guidance of local Indigenous Australian leaders and an Indigenous Education Manager.
Interpretation for this garden is very honest, and uses words like “invasion” to describe the rapid European colonization of the continent and its aftermath. Programming for the Cadi Jam Ora garden includes tours that feature activities such as aboriginal tool-making and native plant use. Australian public gardens continue to engage with contemporary indigenous communities in a variety of ways. Most notable is Booderee Botanic Gardens. Once a coastal annex to the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, the land was returned to the local Wreck Bay indigenous community in 1995. The garden focuses on native species that have cultural significance to the local Aboriginal community. While three of the five garden staff are Indigenous Australians, the garden recognizes a lack of indigenous representation in upper management positions.
Management is aware of the barriers in developing and advancing Indigenous Australian employees, including the fact that the communities’ close connection to the land may make it difficult for employees to travel far away for training or work experiences. Taronga Zoo is another example of an organization that has taken further steps to engage and reach out to contemporary Indigenous Australian communities. Presented as the next logical step after the success of two award-winning indigenous programs, Burbangana (translates to “take my hand and help me up”) Zoo Awareness program and its sister program, Walanmarra (translates to “make me strong now”) at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, are additional indigenous programs promoting social inclusion. Taronga Zoo’s Work Experience program provides practical, handson work experience for indigenous students interested in pursuing a career in zoo keeping, animal care, tourism/education or zoo horticulture. The Taronga Zoo employs an Aboriginal Education Officer to provide a direct connection through shared culture and a welcome atmosphere from a relatable role model. Managed by the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), the program faces challenges of student transportation, accessibility to home resources, and a notable attrition rate. Though ideally, the measured success of this program would be rated by how many students complete the course in its entirety, relative success is found in every student exposed to this opportunity. A notable trend in successful cases is male students have consistently held keen interest in the Reptiles and Amphibian Division. The engagement of contemporary Indigenous Australian communities faces many challenges. Though some institutions have mandates in place to hire a percentage of Indigenous Australians, others did not. The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney has successfully employed Indigenous Australian tour guides and interpreters, but was unable to implement an internship program focusing on Aboriginal youth. With the exception of Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens, and Taronga Zoo, most other gardens did not have internal or strategic goals related to staff diversity or the inclusion of Indigenous Australians, and had more informal goals for hiring indigenous employees for tour or program related positions. In Adelaide, the state government has a 2% target for hiring Indigenous Australian employees, but this is aspirational only, and there are no penalties if this is not achieved. B. Training and Mentorship Programs There have been many changes in the world of Australian vocational training and higher education. Previously, more government money was available for apprenticeship programs, but those funds have decreased, and multiple gardens have expressed the difficulty of continuing certificate training programs with a lack of government support. Australia has a standardized certification for horticultural expertise. The certifications begin at Certificate I, the most basic level, and end with Advanced Diploma, intended for garden managers. Training programs can be recognized under the Australian Qualification Framework, the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for Australia’s vocational education and training sector. There is no single degree issuing organization for the country, although there was discussion of the idea of Botanic Gardens of Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ) becoming the certification granting organization. 13
One example of a botanic garden heading a certification program is the Australian Centre for Horticultural Excellence, or ACoHE. ACoHE is a partnership between Botanic Gardens of South Australia and ARO Education. ACoHE offers a Certificate III in Horticulture, as well as master classes that are accessible for lay people. 10 trainees at a time spend one day a week at one of Botanic Gardens of South Australia’s three sites, Adelaide Botanic Garden, Wittunga Botanic Garden, or Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, and receive practical, hands on training as well as classroom learning and field trips. Subjects such as nursery maintenance, propagation management, and machinery operations prepare trainees for general horticultural careers such as Curator, Horticulturist, or Gardener. Competition to get into the program is high, and trainees are not guaranteed a job when they graduate. Botanic Gardens of South Australia is interested in growing partnerships with universities in order to offer higher levels of certification. The terminal degree is called a diploma level, intended for future garden managers. There are also many opportunities for informal mentorship in Australian public gardens. Volunteer programs can help foster an individual’s interest in horticulture. In general, there is less focus on volunteerism in Australia, and a somewhat more limited role for volunteers in public gardens. Several gardens spoke of the importance of not using volunteers as substitutes for paid employees, and indicated this was important to their staff, as well as a legal issue, as many garden staff are unionized and volunteerism can be seen as a threat to their positions. However, most gardens still offered some sort of volunteer program. Royal Botanic Garden Cranbourne’s bushland volunteer program works with up to nine volunteers a week, usually students from conservation and land management programs. The opportunity provides the volunteers with a chance to test out a job in natural lands management, and provides them with experience they can use when applying for jobs later on. Many of the gardens had Friends of the Garden groups, and the most common activities of these groups were fundraising or plant propagation for public plant sales. All gardens visited hosted school groups and had specific programming for children. Recent research studies indicate that interventions at a younger age will have a higher impact on children’s behavior throughout their lives. To these gardens, teaching children about plants, the environment, and horticultural careers at an early age can provide a better return on investment or return on mission. The Fellows learned about a variety of youth programming. For instance, the Botanic Gardens of South Australia recently opened Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden, a program for pre-school and early-years school groups. In providing access to fresh produce (Figure 6), lessons on gardening and composting, and a space for story-telling and discussion (Figure 7), the program’s goal is to teach the next generation of kitchen gardeners. Meanwhile, Royal Botanic Garden Cranbourne had it’s own Bush Kinder, or forest kindergarten. Bush Kinder is an early childhood learning model, with instruction almost exclusively outside with the emphasis on nature play. Melbourne Mentors, a program of Royal Botanic Garden Melbourne, provides the opportunity for secondary school students to mentor younger children and teach them about environmental stewardship. Many gardens went outside of their gates and visited schools. Booderee Botanic Garden Aboriginal staff members visit classrooms to connect with and recruit Aboriginal students as future Garden employees. 14
C. Use of Technology Australian gardens are using technology for community engagement in a number of interesting ways. Websites are standard practice, and all gardens visited had and used a garden website, and many had blogs. iPads were commonly used for purposes such as visitor surveys (Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah) and use in classrooms (Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan). Audio tours of the gardens were commonly available. When asked about the use of technology in the garden, the most common answer from garden directors was about their use of social media. The marketing value of platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and especially Facebook is immense. For example, Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens Mount Tomah has spectacular Puya berteroniana, with metallic blue flowers that bloom only once every 10 years. A facebook push about the flowers doubled the garden’s visitation for the 2 weeks the plants were in bloom. The opportunity for interaction with visitors that social media offers is also powerful. Taronga Zoo has begun promoting the #IGrewUpWithTaronga hashtag on social media. The campaign reads, “The past 100 years have been made up of both our and your memories. So for this 100th year, we’re inviting you to share your Taronga Zoo memories with us.” This invitation to celebrate memories of the Zoo promotes a sense of co-ownership and investment in the organization. Additionally, it instantly captures nostalgic narratives that are short, visually appealing, and memorable. This campaign has the potential to track the organization’s impact on visitor’s lives based on the stories shared, the number of participants, and possibly the frequency of visits posted throughout the years. For its 200th birthday RBG Sydney has been promoting the hashtag #MyGardenStory, similarly asking what the Garden means to individual visitors, and featuring prizes for winners. Mobile applications (Apps) were also used at many of the gardens visited. Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan’s PlantBank has the award winning PlantBank app. PlantBank allows visitors with smartphones to read area overviews, explore lessons in diversity and conservation through various media, and view maps of surrounding areas. The app also features an educational game, as well as a gallery of the garden’s plants for inquiring minds. Taronga Zoo has the educational Wild Australia and Rainforest Heros apps. Adelaide Botanic Garden uses MyParx, an mobile app that features not just Adelaide but gardens and parks from around the world. Using the app visitors can view maps and information about the garden, such availability of edible produce in the garden. The information about the garden is updated by Adelaide, but they do not manage the app themselves.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SUMMARY Like Longwood Gardens, the Australian gardens visited strive to be relevant, accessible, and welcoming to local communities. Gardens are creating space for previously unrecognized social history, fostering innovative partnerships for educational programming, and using emotion, storytelling, and technology to engage with their visitors.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS Tell a more complete story. Australian public gardens created space for previously unrecognized history and stories, such as the horticultural traditions of Indigenous Australians. Longwood could benefit from identifying untold stories in the history of its gardens, and using these stories to add depth and dimension to the visitor experience. Continue to strategically expand partnerships in education and outreach programming. Longwood’s current partnerships parallel partnerships benchmarked in Australian public gardens. Deliberate and strategic expansion in this area could provide more opportunities for programs that engage underserved audiences and younger generations. Create interpretive material with the intent of evoking an emotional reaction from the visitor. Longwood’s current interpretation strategy already identifies the importance of the “emotional connection”. Further consideration and elevation of the desired emotional response from interpretative messaging will create more memorable and powerful guest experiences. Clarify community engagement goals and identify how attaining these goals benefits the garden. Recognition and communication of the benefits that community engagement brings to the garden - such as increased social relevance, earned revenue through tours and programming, and a more secure future audience in a changing world - make community engagement efforts worthwhile and sustainable.
At all of the institutions visited, there was an underlying theme of environmental stewardship in both how the gardens are managed and how environmental messages are communicated to the public. Most of these efforts fit into three categories: preservation of native species, water conservation, and climate change. From promoting native plants to adapting their gardens for climate change, these organizations demonstrated a deep connection with the natural world. A. Preservation of Native Species Preservation of native species took on a variety of forms at these organizations. Taronga Zoo, by nature, had the most extensive programs with respect to native wildlife preservation and connecting these practices to the public. Wildlife conservation is at the very heart of this organization, and the success of Taronga’s mission statement is highly dependent on the engagement of local communities to incite awareness and behavioral change. Project Insitu, a call-to-action educational program designed to challenge and empower resident schools through local species conservation, is considered to be one of Taronga’s most successful programs. Project Insitu brings the Zoo to the students via their Zoomobile and gives a class of students important information on how to conserve an endangered or threatened animal species in their local area (in-situ). These classes are asked to be ambassadors for the threatened species, and the students are invited to the Zoo admission-free for ex-situ study of the species provided by experts including Zoo staff and tertiary partners such as the local Office of Environment and Heritage. Though each class learns how to protect a particular species, the effect of Project Insitu is amplified by equipping students with the knowledge of how to communicate the importance of this effort with others. To insure the longevity of this annual initiative, students are not only tasked with informing their communities, but also teaching incoming classes of students to be new ambassadors for the species. The impacts of this program reverberate on multiple levels, but can be most simply identified in two ways: improved wildlife species status and generational knowledge dispersal. Examples of successful past Project Insitu programs have included Little Penguins of Manly, Regent Honeyeaters of the Capertee Valley, and the Yellow-bellied Glider, each of which has extensive online records of strides made by multiple schools in improving wildlife species status.
Some Australian gardens, such as Booderee Botanic Garden and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, had a more subtle approach to wildlife preservation which focused on small populations of bowerbirds residing within the gardens. This particular bowerbird species, native to southeastern Australia, is known for its unique nest-building (Figure 8). Males fill their nests with as many blue objects as they can find with the intention of creating a ‘bower’ that will attract a mate. As a result, though, these bowers are often lined with blue objects like bottle caps, candy wrappers,
old plant tags, and other things generally considered trash. While many gardens would frown upon small piles of trash in their landscapes, Booderee and Mount Tomah interpret and celebrate these nests as part of their landscape. Tours at Booderee highlight bowerbird nests, and Mount Tomah features a human-size bower woven with wood and blue glass an art piece near the garden entrance (Figure 9 & 10). Both tactics help visitors connect with native wildlife and its regional habitat. Royal Botanic Garden Cranbourne has a different approach for connecting visitors to the natural environment, as the entire site exists as an interpretive experience for use of Australian native plants. Cranbourne has many demonstration gardens intended to provide visitors with â€œpractical take-home ideasâ€? using native plants, and all of the plants found in these gardens are readily available for purchase at nurseries or garden centers. Because Cranbourne also has remnant bushland, there are invasive species management plans in place for both flora and fauna. In recent years, suburbran sprawl has encroached on the garden, increasing the importance of communicating these management plans to nearby suburban residents. Garden staff accomplish this through interpretive signage, letter drops, and face to face interaction. They have significant local support for their management practices, a fact which the staff attributes to the excellent environmental education programs in Australia. In addition, garden staff recognize the potential impacts of sprawl on local wildlife. To compensate, there have been discussions regarding the need for wildlife corridors. Overall, Cranbourne staff set a positive example as environmental stewards. The Adelaide Botanic Garden engages people with native plants outside of the garden with the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre and its website, Seeds of South Australia. The program collects and documents seeds, using many images of plants found in situ by community and volunteer researchers. The seed guides and species fact sheets are then made available online for plant aficionados throughout the region to use on their excursions. The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan had the most extensive programs for connecting visitors with native plants with their Australian PlantBank. The Australian PlantBank is a research and science facility specializing in horticultural research pertaining to the conservation of New South Wales native and endangered species. The Australian PlantBank incorporates interpretation and discovery into every possible aspect. A key aspect of PlantBank is also its mission of education and engagement, and this can be seen in the detailed formal and informal interpretation. Inside PlantBank, visitors can watch scientists behind glass walls go through the process of conserving native plant seed, from cleaning newly-collected seeds to preparing germination tests for seed viability. Even a federally mandated safety line, painted across the glass wall so visitors do not accidentally walk into it, is used to interpret the seed collection, cleaning, and storage process. Outside the building are native plant gardens, with each notable species connected to a colored tile. The tile runs across the pavement, connecting the garden to the PlantBank building, and an inside exhibit describing seed and collection characteristics of said species (Figure 11). This provides a visual and physical connection to visitors - a visceral link between the native plants and plant based research. To further engage the public, PlantBank intends to hire a dedicated science communicator to educate visitors about their work and research and may soon allow visitors to help clean chaff FIGURE 11 off large quantities of seed. 18
B. Water Conservation With droughts becoming longer and more frequent throughout southeastern Australia, almost all gardens are creating plans for more efficient water management. These efforts were primarily focused on using recycled water for irrigation and interpreting water use practices to the public, but each garden had its own unique approach to water conservation. To start, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne had one of the most interesting methods for recycling water. RBG Melbourne’s Working Wetlands (Figure 12) are man-made wetlands designed as floating islands that are small enough to fit in a large pond or small lake. The wetlands can then be moved by motorboat, or lifted out and moved to another body of water, to areas in need of remediation. The Working Wetlands are part of the garden’s efforts to use stormwater runoff from the city to irrigate plants. When it rains, stormwater is diverted to the streams and ponds at RBG Melbourne, where the wetlands are able to remediate the water which can later be pumped into the garden’s irrigation system. The wetlands not only functional, they are also a beautiful feature.
In comparison, Adelaide Botanic Garden used their wetlands (Figure 13) as an interpretive focal point for the garden. An amphitheater and observation deck were built into the edge of the garden’s wetland and hold a wealth of information on wetland plants and wildlife through reader-friendly interpretive signage. Visitors can even get eye-level with the wetland, as some observation windows were placed just below the waterline. Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne also uses water conservation as a focal point in their landscape, but in a much different way. Instead of a traditional centerpiece lake, Cranbourne has the red sand Ephemeral Lake which visually represents the desert bushland in the center of the continent. A very visually striking feature, the Ephemeral Lake tells a story of water in Australia while hardly using any water at all. Some gardens choose not to interpret water conservation for their guests, despite their exemplary conservation efforts. Although it is not strongly communicated to visitors, Blue Mountain Botanic Gardens Mount Tomah recycles all of its irrigation water as part of the garden’s larger effort to be “off the grid”. Mount Tomah also generates 40% of its own energy from solar and hopes to become a premier garden for sustainability.
While many gardens are well on their way to achieving water sustainability, some are still in the initial planning stages. Royal Botanic Garden Sydney hopes to someday become a more waterefficient garden by using graywater from the city’s nearby tunnel system. RBG Sydney currently buys all of its water from the city in the form of potable water, which is expensive and ultimately detrimental to the plant collections during droughts when there are water restrictions. With significant changes in infrastructure, the garden could potentially use graywater from the city’s nearby tunnel system. This would eliminate the need to use valuable potable water for irrigation, be less expensive after the infrastructure is in place, and reduce the hazard of drought damage to collections. However, this massive change in infrastructure would require a large capital campaign and significant leveraging of city partnerships, both difficult tasks for a garden that is striving to gain financial independence. C. Climate Change Climate change was an underlying theme at all of the institutions visited, although some organizations addressed it more directly than others. For example, RBG Melbourne has built their new water-use plan on the 2090 Climate Projections and is working towards adapting their garden to the hotter and drier climate being predicted for the region. The seed banks at Adelaide Botanic Garden and Australian Garden Mount Annan also attest to each garden’s efforts to preserve plants in the face of climate change. Adelaide’s South Australian Seed Conservation Centre (Figure 14) is attempting to collect seeds from as many native plants in the state as possible before climate change drives them to extinction, while the labs at Mount Annan’s PlantBank are continuously doing research on projects such as native seed germination under hotter climate conditions. In fact, the PlantBank is currently conducting research to study how seeds will react to increased temperatures using a Gradient Plate for seed germination efficacy testing that can regulate a spectrum of heat across a surface (Figure 15).
All of the visited institutions accepted climate change as a reality to be managed instead of a controversial debate. Gardens subtly interpreted climate change as fact to guests within the gardens, something not usually seen in American gardens. With this outlook, Australian gardens are addressing climate change in two ways; by acting as positive environmental stewards in their own organizations, and by creating new generations of environmental stewards through connecting Australian citizens with the natural world.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP SUMMARY Through actively preserving native species, planning new water conservation strategies, and addressing climate change, public horticulture in Australia has proven to be an outstanding example of environmental stewardship. Responsible land management and transparent interpretation aim to convey an important message and inspire guests to share in this vision.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP RECOMMENDATIONS Get guests to take action. Through interpretation and education, provide guests with the knowledge and tools to help them address climate change, conserve native species, and protect the environment beyond their experience at Longwood. Use Longwoodâ€™s research and science to communicate climate change. Longwood has extensive records for natural events such as flower bloom times, frost free dates, and woody plant dormancies. These can serve as a trusted source of scientific evidence to demonstrate shifts in climate to the public. Begin including interpretation that subtly represents climate change as a reality. New signage could include phrases about the effects of climate change, and guided tours could speak to the impact of climate change on plant species within the garden. Investigate water management plans that include precipitation projections accounting for climate change. Update collections policies and evaluate infrastructure based on the precipitation predicted by future climate projections. Improve wetland visibility. Wetlands are an engaging setting to educate visitors about environmental systems, wildlife, and water management all in one place. Consider providing tours of Longwoodâ€™s wetlands, and include the wetlands in more classes and programming.
While the concept of “accessibility” invites multiple interpretations, the Longwood Gardens’ 2016-2022 strategic plan states that, “enhancing accessibility includes removing barriers to participation, increasing access to collections, leveraging educational programs, and augmenting offerings to attract more diverse audiences. Longwood Gardens will also partner with key organizations to amplify community outreach, and will explore the possibility of an expanded transportation plan to enhance services for local, regional and international guests.” The spectrum of destinations selected for this study – zoos, public gardens, and national parks – helps to emphasize the range of accessibility opportunities and challenges faced by horticultural institutions in Australia and how they may compare to operations at Longwood Gardens. This section outlines those findings and aligns them with the components of accessibility as stated in Longwood’s strategic plan. A. Removing barriers to participation: Public Access Before one can remove barriers to participation, these obstacles must first be identified. In this study, the Fellows recognized two main barriers: physical challenges and socioeconomic challenges. Due to its rural setting and commitment to providing excellent experiences, visitors to Longwood Gardens have consistently faced such barriers. Half a world away, Australia has encountered these same issues in a political environment that highly contrasts that of the United States. Despite their many similarities, Australia generally does not share in the philanthropic nature found in the United States. The overwhelming association of nonprofit organizations and public gardens in the United States is not reflected on the other side of the world. Rather, most gardens are largely associated with the government, which employs the gardens as admission-free community assets, much like a public park system. Table 1 describes the institutions visited and their acccessibility parameters. Horticultural Organization Taronga Zoo Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Adelaide Botanic Garden Mount Lofty Botanic Garden Wittunga Botanic Garden
Miles from city center 5.7 0.6 119 63.5 39.6 34.2 1.7 1.2 11.1 8.4
Transportation Method Ferry, drive, walk, taxi, rail Ferry, drive, walk, taxi, rail Drive, rail Drive Drive Drive Walk, drive, rail Drive, walk, taxi Drive Drive
Admission Fee (AUD) $46.00 per adult Free $11.00 per car Free Free Free Free Free Free Free
Annual visitation 1.7 million 3.5 million 450,000 188,910 336,768 2 million 2 million 1.5 million <1 million <1 million
The organizations with the highest visitation rates are located in the heart of major cities, can be reached through multiple methods of transportation, and are admission-free. As free attractions in an otherwise expensive country, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and Melbourne double as urban green space for millions of visitors. Internal accessibility measures are apparent and well-planned. For instance, to accommodate its youngest visitors, RBG Melbourne constructed its Children’s Garden which is 80% accessible (other 20%: a small pond and safety barriers).
Though increased accessibility is usually deemed a victory, by-products of this public access include difficulty in determining accurate attendance and demographics of visitorship as well as adverse impact on plant collections (carving into tree bark, pedestrian traffic through planting beds, etc.). Conversely, many of the other organizations self-identify as “destination” gardens, because they recognize the extra planning and preparation their visitors must make to reach the site. For example, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah considers itself to be more known internationally than domestically. Despite lobbying for the government to provide public transportation to the garden, the site is still only accessible by car. In effort to be more inclusive of the local community and increase overall visitorship, the garden recently dropped its $5.00 admission fee. This changed the demographic of the garden visitors significantly by attracting more short-term visitors and boosting attendance from 100,000 to approximately 200,000 visitors per year. Increased visitorship has driven efforts to expand car-parking facilities, which will become critical during peak times including school holidays, weekends, and apple-picking season. The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan also recently dropped its admission fee. In turn, staff saw a greater increase in recreational visitors. The surrounding area has an average age of 36, a mix of income levels, and frequent local visitors with an emphasis in the older and younger generations (families, grandparents, children). While the garden aims to be a recreational destination for visitors, the horticultural staff is challenged by an increase in litter and speeding vehicles. In an effort to invite a different and previously absent demographic of visitors, the garden opened up an area of land unsuited for gardening to mountain bikers. Similarly to Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbournes’ transportation challenges stem from reliance on cars and limited to no public transportation. As part of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens has considered running shuttle buses to and from its counterpart, Cranbourne, though this plan has yet to mature. Cranbourne Gardens holds four large events each year, including a “family day” with the local city of Casey. Now in its sixth year, this event alone draws 2500 to 3000 people into the gardens. With insufficient parking available on site, the garden provides free pickups from the train, library, and shopping mall (this is similar to how Longwood Gardens handles overflow parking during the Christmas season). However, because of the garden’s location in a developing area with freeway access, this may change significantly as Cranbourne expands its visitation patterns. Once inside the gardens visitors can enjoy a garden explorer shuttle, which makes six stops, provides interpretation throughout, and acts as a safety measure on especially hot days. B. Increasing access to collections: Adelaide Botanic Garden Though urban location, public transportation, and free admission make for highly accessible plant collections, the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre (SASCC) provides virtual accessibility to the state’s threatened plant species in addition to supporting conservation efforts through its website, Seeds of South Australia (Figure 16). Since its establishment in 2002, the program has been very successful, with over 200 million seeds collected and stored, including seeds from nearly 70% of the State’s threatened flora. Though seed collecting efforts are based
at Adelaide Botanic Garden, community members throughout South Australia are encouraged to contribute to this initiative through photo submissions of various seeds and mature growth. Additionally, the SASCC hopes that when unidentified, dormant seeds finally transition to a state of identification, the public will help to “bridge this knowledge gap” with their plant knowledge. Ultimately, the SASCC aspires for this tool to “be used to support effective community and industry based restoration projects that are needed to facilitate the re-creation of functional and compositionally sustainable ecosystems across the South Australian landscape”. Hopefully, one day the SASCC’s success will result in the re-establishment of these endangered species in the landscape, making them far more accessible to community members and all of South Australia. C. Leveraging educational programs: Taronga Zoo Although Taronga Zoo is not admission-free, it leverages educational programs such as Project Insitu to overcome accessibility issues by bringing the zoo experience to local students. Project Insitu, a call-to-action educational program designed to challenge and empower resident schools through local species conservation, is considered to be one of Taronga’s most successful programs. Because of Taronga’s remote location, schools in Sydney tend to face accessibility barriers including travel time, price, and lack of alignment with the educational curriculum. Project Insitu remedies this situation by first bringing the Zoo to the students via the Zoomobile. Charging each class as ambassadors of a locally threatened animal species, the students are then invited to the Zoo admission-free for insitu study provided by local experts, including Zoo staff and tertiary partners, such as the local Office of Environment and Heritage. These partnerships allow this youth educational program to thrive. D. Augmenting offerings to attract more diverse audiences: Booderee Botanic Gardens Booderee Botanic Garden is the only Aboriginal owned botanic garden in Australia. The opportunity to experience education from the perspective of Indigenous Australians has proved to be highly beneficial. Despite its remote location and its small entrance fee, Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens attracts over 450,000 visitors each year, many of them repeat visitors. Free tours for school children provide insight to bush tucker (foods native to Australia and eaten by Indigenous Australians), medicinal uses of plants, and the long association the Koori people have with the area and the plants of southeastern Australia. With increased interest surrounding reconciliation efforts, other gardens have augmented their offerings to include Indigenous Australian heritage focused education and programs. However, because many gardens do not closely track attendance numbers and demographics, it is unknown as to whether these programs are driving diverse audiences through the gates or providing a new program to a familiar audience. To learn more about attracting diverse audiences, please see Community Engagement, beginning on page 11.
ACCESSIBILITY SUMMARY Despite the governmentâ€™s role in providing free access to gardens, many Australian horticultural institutions encounter similar accessibility issues as Longwood Gardens. Though the challenge of accessibility persists, identifying key partnerships that both strengthen surrounding communities as well as serve the mission of the garden have helped to overcome barriers of access and invite inclusive participation.
ACCESSIBILITY RECOMMENDATIONS Determine Longwood Gardensâ€™ capacity to accommodate accessibility needs. Complete internal assessment of current offerings (number of complimentary tickets per year, status of garden interpretation efforts, etc.). Identify easily accomplished opportunities from options below. Form transportation partnerships with local community hubs. To elevate the presence of Longwood Gardens as an accessible cultural destination, identify partnerships with Kennett Square community organizations in areas of underserved populations with strong and diverse community ties. Collaborate on events with shared transportation options to encourage group visits while alleviating parking constraints. Partner with funder to offset admission costs. Identify potential partnerships with funders to create limited time opportunities such as admission-free days and/or discounted memberships available for purchase on those days for specific visitor groups such as families or students. Instill a lifelong affinity for the garden experience at an early age. Enhance opportunities for youth participation to create positive, lasting experiences that solidify the garden as a welcoming place to be visited in the future. Increase adolescent educational programs during formative years.
Through research in Australia, the Longwood Graduate Fellows gathered information and fulfilled their goals. Not only has this research given Longwood Gardens greater knowledge of Australia’s strategic efforts to measure success and demonstrate civic responsibility, it has also provided the Fellows with a global perspective on horticulture. This research has strengthened relationships, identified new partnerships, and created potential for future collaborations. The 2016 International Experience has enhanced the education of each Fellow and contributed to the growth of the class as a whole. The opportunity to learn in an international setting provided insights, inspired new questions, and allowed the Fellows to understand transformational issues in public horticulture with a new lens. The Class of 2017 has been and continues to be immensely grateful for this experience.
Develop simple tools to share Longwood’s plan and progress. Distill the strategic plan into a scalable poster format and create an easily digestible yearly report card to measure growth. Inspire guests to become better environmental stewards. Through interpretation and education, provide guests with the knowledge and tools to help them address climate change, conserve native species, and protect the environment beyond their experience at Longwood. By giving guests accurate information and meaningful advice, Longwood can help visitors take action on environmental stewardship in their own lives. Tell a more complete story. Australian public gardens created space for previously unrecognized history and stories, such as the horticultural traditions of Indigenous Australians. Longwood could benefit from identifying untold stories in the history of its gardens, and using these stories to add depth and dimension to the visitor experience. Continue to strategically expand partnerships in education and outreach programming. Longwood’s current partnerships parallel partnerships benchmarked in Australian public gardens. Deliberate and strategic expansion in this area could provide more opportunities for programs that engage underserved audiences and younger generations. Determine Longwood Gardens’ capacity to accommodate accessibility needs. Before initiating new efforts, an internal assessment should be completed to determine the effectiveness of Longwood’s existing strategy for accessibility, including established partnerships, number of complimentary tickets distributed annually, etc. Then, assess existing resources, such as costs and staff time, to discern capacity of accessibility efforts. 26
APPENDIX A: CONTACT INFORMATION OF AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTIONS Taronga Zoo Cameron Kerr, Director and Chief Executive of Taronga Conservation Society Australia Email: Cjkerr@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Nikki Bodel, Education Manager Email: NBodel@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Lucinda Cveticanin, Community and Aboriginal Programs Manager Email: Lbryant@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Belinda Fairbrother, Community Conservation Manager Email: Bfairbrother@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Emma Pollard, Taronga Institute Project and Business Manager Email: Epollard@zoo.nsw.gov.au
Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust Offices Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Kim Ellis, Executive Director of Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands Email: Kim.Ellis@environment.nsw.gov.au
Nora De Guzman, Horticultural Management Support Email: Nora.DeGuzman@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au
Paul Nicholson, Site Coordinator and Volunteer Programs Email: Paul.Nicholson@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au
Jimmy Turner, Director of Horticultural Management Email: Jimmy.Turner@environment.nsw.gov.au
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah Greg Bourke, Curator Manager, BMBG Email: Greg.Bourke@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan John Siemon, Curator Manager Email: John.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Anderson, Visitor Experience Manager, ABG Email: Rebecca.email@example.com
Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens Stig Pedersen, Acting Botanic Gardens Curator Email: Stig.Pedersen@environment.gov.au Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive Honorary Professorial Fellow Email: Tim.Entwisle@rbg.vic.gov.au
Chris Russell, Director, Cranbourne Gardens Email: Chris.Russell@rbg.vic.gov.au
Jo Fyfe, Coordinator Visitor Programs Email: Joanna.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bronwyn Merritt, Coordinator Land Management Email: Bronwyn.email@example.com
Sharon Willoughby, Manager Public Programs Cranbourne Gardens Email: Sharon.Willoughby@rbg.vic.gov.au
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Chris Cole, Director Melbourne Gardens Associate Professor Email: Chris.Cole@rbg.vic.gov.au
Mark McDonnell, Director of ARCUE Email: Markmc@unimelb.edu.au
Kylie Regester, Manager Public Programs Professor Email: Kylie.Regester@rbg.vic.gov.au
Lisa Wedmore, Directorâ€™s Assistant Email: Lisa.firstname.lastname@example.org
Botanic Gardens of South Australia Adelaide Botanic Garden, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Wittunga Botanic Garden
Andrew Carrick Manager, Collections and Horticulture Email: Andrew.Carrick@sa.gov.au
Tony Kanellos, Cultural Collections Manager & Museum Curator Email: Tony.Kanellos@sa.gov.au
APPENDIX B: VISIT SUMMARY AND OBSERVATIONS Date: January 12, 2016 Garden: Taronga Zoo Outcome Journalist: Grace Parker Summary and Observations Though wildlife conservation is at the very heart of this organization, the success of Taronga’s mission statement is highly dependent on the engagement of local communities to incite awareness and behavioral change. Project Insitu, a call-to-action educational program designed to challenge and empower resident schools through local species conservation, is considered to be one of Taronga’s most successful programs. Despite Taronga’s downtown location, schools in Sydney tend to face accessibility barriers including travel time, price, and lack of alignment with the educational curriculum. Project Insitu remedies this situation by first bringing the Zoo to the students via the Zoomobile. Charging each class as ambassadors of a locally threatened animal species, the students are then invited to the Zoo admission-free for insitu study provided by local experts including Zoo staff and tertiary partners such as the local Office of Environment and Heritage. The impacts of this program reverberate on multiple levels, but can be most simply identified in two ways: positive indicators of improved wildlife species status and generational knowledge dispersal. Examples of successful past Project Insitu programs have included Little Penguins of Manly, Regent Honeyeaters of the Capertee Valley and Yellow-bellied Glider, each of which has extensive online records of strides made by multiple schools in improving wildlife species status. Though each class learns how to protect a particular species, the effects of this education are amplified greatly when students are equipped with the knowledge of how to communicate the importance of this effort with others. To insure the longevity of this annual initiative, students are not only tasked with informing their communities, but also with passing down this information to the incoming classes at their school. In this way, the mentees become the mentors to a whole new class of species ambassadors and the conservation effort grows even stronger. Social Inclusion: An Indigenous Australian Focus In 2011, Taronga made a statement of commitment for the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which intends to “identify actions, timelines, and measurable targets across the three key areas of Respect, Relationships, and Opportunities for the Indigenous community and build enhanced cultural appreciation amongst our staff and visitors.” Presented as the next logical step after the success of two award-winning indigenous programs, Burbangana (translates to “take my hand and help me up”) Zoo Awareness program and its sister program, Walanmarra (translates to “make me strong now”) at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, additional indigenous programs continue to promote the concept of social inclusion.
Taronga Zoo’s Work Experience program provides practical, hands-on work experience for students interested in pursuing a career in zoo keeping, animal care, tourism/education or zoo horticulture. Divisions may include: • Marine Mammals • Australian Mammals • Australian and Farm Animals • Birds • Ungulates and Primates • Reptiles and Amphibians • Horticulture • Taronga Wildlife Hospital • Education / Tourism In order to help indigenous students to feel welcome, the Zoo employs an Aboriginal Education Officer to provide a direct connection through shared culture and a welcome atmosphere from a relatable role model. Managed by the RAP, the program faces challenges of student transportation, accessibility to resources at home, and a notable attrition rate. The measured success of this program would ideally be rated by how many students complete the course in its entirety, relative success is found in every student exposed to this opportunity. One trend found in successful cases is a common interest in the Reptiles and Amphibian Division. Community Input Taronga Zoo is involved with several campaigns including but not limited to: • Sustainable Seafood Day • Plastic Pollution • Don’t Palm Us Off (Unsustainable palm oil plantations) • Wildlife Witness • Mobile Phone Recycling Program – We Need Your Phones! In each campaign, the Zoo is advocating for the public to take action; buy sustainable seafood, or recycle their phones. Taronga often looks to its social media platforms to communicate to the masses as well as special interest groups. Using platforms from Facebook to the official Zoo website, Taronga solicits messages from the public. Both a great opportunity as well as a challenge, these many voices provide a wealth of feedback as well as the task of deciding how to utilize and interpret this volume of input. Sometimes the results of a campaign, such as the “Mobile Phone Recycling Program – We Need Your Phones! Campaign” are highly quantifiable, in that the number of phones speaks to a definitive impact. In order to promote their centennial and incite community participation, Taronga has begun promoting #IGrewUpWithTaronga on social media. The campaign reads, “The past 100 years have been made up of both our and your memories. So for this 100th year, we’re inviting you to share your Taronga Zoo memories with us.” This invitation to celebrate memories of the Zoo promotes co-ownership and the stake that each visitor has in the organization. Additionally, it instantly provides nostalgic narratives that are short, visually appealing, and above all memorable. This campaign has the potential to track the impact of success on visitor’s lives based on the
stories shared, the number of participants, and in some cases the frequency of visits posted throughout the years. 2016-2020 Strategic Plan Taronga’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan was instrumental in providing the foundation and direction for the new 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. The organization’s Vision: “Securing a shared future for wildlife and people” lead directly to its Role: “As leaders in conservation, we protect wildlife and empower people to secure a sustainable future for our planet”. The new Strategic Plan identifies five Strategic Focuses: • Conservation Outcomes • Wildlife in Our Care • Transformational Guest Experiences • Excellence in Conservation Education • Engage and Influence …As well as Key Enablers: • People and Organizational Strength • Financial and Environmental Sustainability • Centenary Capital Plan In line with its mission, the organization’s commitment to conservation, animal welfare, guest experience, sustainability, and work health and safety have been renewed to achieve maximum impact.
Date: January 13, 2016 Garden: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Outcome Journalist: Erin Kinley Summary and Observations Five-year strategic plans are currently being used to achieve short-term goals for the gardens. The latest of these, their 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, is neatly summed up on an attractive 11x17” poster that can be easily distributed to and interpreted by board members and other stakeholders. Because government funding has been steadily drying up, the first priority of this newest plan is to grow and diversify funding sources. Director Kim Ellis also mentioned the possibility of a long-term plan, but added that given global instability, it can be difficult to create something like a 20-year Strategic Plan for the organization. To achieve this, Director Ellis thinks the he would need more involvement from their board members and interviews with key decision-makers, both difficult things to do for a bureaucratically-managed organization. One of the initiatives that the garden would like to plan for in the long-term is independence from city water for irrigation. RBG Sydney current buys all of its water from the city in the form of potable water, which is expensive and ultimately detrimental to the collections during droughts when there are water restrictions. With significant changes in infrastructure , the garden could potentially use graywater from the city’s nearby tunnel system. This would eliminate the need to use valuable potable water for irrigation, be less expensive after the infrastructure is in place, and reduce the hazard of drought damage to collections. However, this massive change in infrastructure would require a large capital campaign and significant leveraging of city partnerships, both difficult tasks for a garden that is striving to gain financial security. Being classified as a government organization has its challenges, but political influence has had some positive outcomes for the garden. An election campaign several years ago led to the creation of the Cadi Jam Ora garden, which depicts the story of Indigenous Australians from the time of European settlement to today. The garden was planned with the guidance of local aboriginal leaders and an Indigenous Education Manager. The interpretation for this garden is very honest, and uses words like “invasion” to describe the rapid European colonization of the continent while also explaining devastating periods in aboriginal history, like The Stolen Generation. Programming for the Cadi Jam Ora garden includes tours that feature activities such as aboriginal tool-making and native plant use. This garden has also increased opportunities for diverse employment, as aboriginals are hired to guide tours and maintain the garden.
Date: January 14, 2016 Garden: Booderee National Park & Botanic Gardens Outcome Journalist: Elizabeth Barton Summary and Observations Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens is the only Aboriginal owned botanic garden in Australia. The garden was once considered to be a coastal annex to botanic gardens in Canberra; this coastal annex allowed the gardens to grow plants unsuitable for the inland climate. The bulk of plantings on the site were done between 1970 and 1990. In 1995 the land was returned to the local Wreck Bay indigenous people. The focus soon shifted towards growing local plants. A formal collections policy was established in the early 2000’s. The policy helped to define “local” limits and laid out a focus on indigenous plant use and interpretation. Funding comes from three main sources: federal funding, camp fees, and gate fees. There is a vision for Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens to be entirely operated by Indigenous Australians. There is no defined plan in place to achieve this goal but it something management is working towards. Employees of the botanic garden are trained on site through a level six horticultural certificate. The botanic garden currently employs 5 people, 3 of whom are Indigenous Australian. Most indigenous staff members are front line staff, not managers. . While the long-term plan has yet to be defined, short-term strategies to promote hiring and promotion of Indigenous Australians are in place. These include federal support and the use of current Aboriginal staff members to connect with potential Aboriginal employees. Management is also aware of the barriers to increasing the percentage of indigenous employees. A strong connection to the land makes working at the botanic garden a positive option but creates a barrier to going away for training and other opportunities for many Indigenous Australians. Booderee’s visitor profile includes many locals and repeat visitors. This information is gathered through subscription services, surveys, and anecdotal evidence. The local indigenous community uses the park and gardens for weddings, ceremonies, and school tours. Additionally, the Wreck Bay community has different regulations for water based fishing and gathering, and is able to utilize the park to collect food. They use traditional hunting and gathering techniques and the collected products form a large portion of their diet. Interpretation at Booderee Botanic Gardens shows a focus on indigenous culture. Signage throughout the garden describes traditional uses for plants. A recently created garden space showcases medicinal plants used by the Wreck Bay community. Signage there is currently under review by the community so they can decide how they want to communicate this information. There is no formal curriculum for visitors but the garden offers indigenous cultural and medicinal tours. These tours are based off of knowledge passed down through the staff and are evaluated through customer feedback. The tours are popular and often have more attendees than they are intended to support. During the summer school holidays two sessions per day are offered. Staff and management consider this high attendance an indication of program success.
Date: January 15, 2016 Garden: Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah Outcome Journalist: Alice Edgerton Summary and Observations The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah sits within the Greater Blue Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Area. This 69 acre garden has an impressive collection of cool region plants from the Southern Hemisphere. The Garden has recently gone through a merger with the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, and Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and Centennial Parklands, and is now managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. Due to the merger, the garden is going through a period of great change. Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah was described as currently not heavily programmed, in part due to merger. There is not currently a dedicated education team, something that will be changing this year. Signage is kept to a minimum as not to interfere with the aesthetics of the Garden. The Garden offers: • The Botanists Way Discovery Centre, located in the visitors center, the Centre tells the history of the northern Blue Mountains including stories of early botanists and the traditional custodians of the land, the Darug people • Tours, including a shuttle bus tour, or a walk with volunteer guide. Visitors can also rent an ipod touch to take a self guided walk, either Yenmara Bembulra Darug walk or Botanic Tales Trail • Festivals, such as the Autumn Harvest Festival with music, a sheep shearing contest, and an apple pie bake off. This festival is largely for the local population. The Garden also hosts a carnivorous plant festival • Internship Program, the Garden hosts a group of interns from a university in France each year for a month or six weeks visit • Friends Group, Growing Friends are a group of six that come one day a week for propagation. The lack of volunteers is attributed to the fact that the Garden is located in a gardening area and many people have private gardens • Visiting Educational Groups: Groups from RGB Sydney are bussed out to the site. The groups come with an educational pack they use at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden • Workshops, on bulbs and grafting • Nature Themed Art Exhibits, located in the visitors center Measure and communicate value and impact of our organization How does Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah measure it’s impact? • Surveys: There are currently no statistics on what is most popular. A marketing manager has been hired and a main goal of hers is to conduct visitor surveys. The Garden is also planning on foot traffic counts at the front desk. There are currently visitor surveys available on iPads upstairs, but the Garden has found that people generally only do the survey when they’re not happy • Number of Visitors
How does Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah disseminate impact messages? • The website and social media is a powerful tool for the Garden. Facebook and wordof-mouth driving attendance most. They use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They had double visitation the second November because of social media push for the Blue Puya, a turquoise flower that takes 10 years to flower. • Reporting to Funders: Much of the Garden’s income comes from the government in Sydney. Among other information, there are requirements to report back on visitation and participation in programming. Funding is only guaranteed from government for the term the granting officials are in office Civic Responsibility: Community Engagement, Stewardship, and Accessibility How does Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah engage with it’s community? • Visitors generally come for autumn and spring. The Garden attracts many Japanese visitors for the maple display. Only 20% of Sydney residents know about the garden, it’s international reputation is larger than with locals. How does Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah steward its resources? • They have solar collect rainwater, all irrigation water is recycled. They have a goal of becoming known as “the” sustainable botanic garden. • Financially, The Garden is actively trying to become more financially sustainable. The BCGP master plan includes developing more value added concepts for visitors. Revenue sources include: • Currently host 60 weddings a year. Working on developing wedding area in the formal garden and one with the overview. • Have high end Tomah Gardens Restaurant upscale as well as food kiosk run by an outside company • Some revenue was earned from the Garden shop, but it was closed 18 months ago due to lack of profitability • Close to finishing a line of Blue Mountain Botanic Gardens branded honey • The Jungle Lodge, located within the garden sleeps 10 and brings in some revenue How does Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah enhance its accessibility? • The Garden recently got rid of the $5 entry fee. This changed the demographic of the garden a good deal, attracting more short-term visitors. Attendance jumped from 100,000 visitors a year to 200,000 • Lack of public transportation is an issue, and the Garden has unsuccessfully lobbied for the government to provide public transportation to the Garden • The Garden will be expanding its car parking and facilities, which will greatly increase their ability to drive visitation, especially at peak times such as school holidays, weekends and apple picking season How does Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah partner with other organizations? Mount Tomah mainly partners with the other two gardens that also fall under the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. RGB Sydney scientists conduct research at Mount Tomah as well as send school groups and partner on some programming. The merger has provided new opportunities for enhancing these partnerships that Mount Tomah is currently exploring. 35
Date: January 16, 2016 Garden: Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Outcome Journalist: Tracy Qiu Summary and Observations Indigenous cultural education (Civic Responsibility) Originally stewarded by the Dharawal Aboriginal people, Mount Annan has incorporated the culture and traditional Indigenous use of Australian native plants in its Fruit Loop trail and Stolen Generations memorial. The Fruit Loop trail doubles as a culinary garden walk, engaging visitors with fruits such as the finger lime - a tart citrus fruit that puckers the mouth. While the aim of the Fruit Loop trail is to connect visitors to Aboriginal food systems and knowledge, the Stolen Generations memorial - a peaceful and meditative area surrounding a sandstone sculpture - acknowledges the loss of this traditional knowledge and more during the colonization of the continent. A collaboration between the New South Wales Stolen Generations Committee, the Botanic Gardens Trust, and Link Up NSW, the memorial acknowledges that Aboriginal Reconciliation is an important topic for both the Australian government and people. Mission Return at Macarthur Centre (Measuring and evaluation) At the present time, the Australian Botanic Gardens Mount Annan employs one part-time educator at the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living. The goal of the centre is to engage and educate local residents who wish to learn more about how they can practice sustainable living on a daily basis. The Centre is leased by the garden, though there are considerations to purchasing it in the future of educational statistics show a return on mission. Currently, the Centre is measuring mission impact through visitor observations, narratives, and commentary. Recreation and public use (Accessibility/Community Engagement, Measuring and Evaluation) The strategic plan, revisited in 2008, includes a land use capital plan spanning the next five years. The plan itself involved detailed analyses of physical assets such as roads and garden beds. As a fairly young garden, Mount Annan is still capturing statistics and demographics on its visitors, and currently uses a car counting system to measure entries. With 89 000 to 340 000 visitors a year, one of the biggest challenges is parking, as well as signage for the one way roads that lead visitors through the garden. The surrounding area has an average age of 36, and a mix of income levels. At the moment, many of the gardenâ€™s frequent visitors are local, with emphasis in the older and younger generations (families, grandparents, children). After the admission fees were removed, staff saw a greater increase in recreational visitors. While the garden aims to be a recreational destination for local and outside visitors, the horticultural staff (35) are challenged by an increase in rubbish and speeding vehicles. In an effort to invite a different and previously absent demographic of visitors, the garden opened up an area of land to mountain bikers, in an area unsuited for gardening due to noise limitations.
Interpretation at PlantBank (Community Engagement, Stewardship) The Australian PlantBank is a research and science facility specializing in horticultural research pertaining to the conservation of New South Wales native and endangered species. A key aspect of PlantBank is also its mission of education and engagement, and this can be seen in the detailed formal and informal interpretation. Outside of PlantBank are native plant gardens, each notable species connected to a coloured tile. The tile runs across the walking pavement, connecting the garden to the PlantBank building, and continues inside to an exhibit describing the seed and collection characteristics of said species. This provides a visual and physical connection to garden visitors, a very “real” and visceral link between the native plants and plant based research. Educational areas and classrooms are holistically integrated into the research facilities. Glass walls allow visitors and students to see into the research areas as scientists work on conservation and propagation projects. This allows visitors, especially children, to engage and get excited about careers in the scientific and botanical field. Another impressive aspect is the PlantBank’s blunt acknowledgement that some amount of dramatic flair is both welcome and necessary in presenting scientific careers. The cold room includes a colored light for dramatic effect, set permanently to blue to create an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue. A small detail, but important when considering the aspirations of young scientists and horticulturists. The Australian PlantBank incorporates interpretation and discovery into every possible aspect of its walls. Outside of the laboratories, the outside facade displays broad information on plant systematics and diversity, while the cabinets behind the facade contain seed specimens to demonstrate the lesson. Even a federally mandated safety line across the glass wall is used to interpret the seed collection, cleaning, and storage process. The PlantBank also intends on hiring a dedicated science communicator to educate visitors and students about their work and research. Considerations are being made into allowing visitors to help with cleaning chafe off of large quantities of seed, further engaging the public in their mission. The PlantBank also makes use of technology, from iPads in classrooms, to the award winning PlantBank app. The app allows visitors with smartphones to read area overviews, explore lessons in diversity and conservation through various media, and view maps of surrounding areas. The app also features an educational game, as well as a gallery of the garden’s plants for inquiring minds.
Date: January 18, 2016 Garden: Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne Outcome Journalist: Elizabeth Barton Summary and Observations The Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, established in 1970, is one of the two sites under the larger organization, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. The 365-acre site contains remnant native bushland, heathlands, wetlands, and woodlands; it is located in Victoria about one hour outside of Melbourne and is intended to complement the larger garden in Melbourne with a display of Australian native plants and ecosystems. Cranbourne has two distinct areas: the cultivated Australian Garden and the remnant bushland. Cranbourne was created through a government act in 1970 and is housed under the Department of the Environment. Cranbourne receives 80% of it’s funding from the government and the remaining 20% from revenue and donations. Interpretation Cranbourne has a well-defined interpretive strategy. They believe that interpretive elements should be evocative and should elicit an emotional response. The garden does not include too many signs or too much information on the signs because they want guests to ask questions. To that end, there are garden ambassadors available on site to answer guest questions, especially questions about home gardening. The signage here is attractive and feels united. For example, water use (a critical topic in water-poor Australia) is interpreted throughout the garden in many places on signs, through sustainable water features, and through plant choices. In one garden space, interpretation takes the form of “salt and pepper signs”, small signs with evocative words on them but no other info. These words (“Blaze”, “Burn”, “Sear”, “Run”, etc.) describe the effect of fire on the landscape and help create an instinctive reaction. Some of these signs were removed after large wildfires broke out so as not to upset visitors. Programming and Education • Programming activities include: • Desert Discovery Camp – space for kids • Wednesday is “Family Day” • Ponding Platform – a place for kids to catch water fauna • Bush Kinder - gets kids out into the bush There is a bushland volunteer program that usually serves students from conservation & land management programs. They take 9 volunteers per week. It is not a formal mentorship program but does attempt to make sure the volunteers have a well-rounded experience and learn what they intend to learn. It is organized through an online third party system. There used to be a horticultural apprenticeship program in the 1970’s but the government funding supporting the program became unavailable. The scariness of the bush is a major deterrent to visitors, an access issue as well as an interpretive challenge. In 2005 Parks Victoria was taken to court and found liable after a child was bitten by a snake at Cranbourne. After the court case, Cranbourne installed large “Warning! Snakes!” signs around the garden but garden leaders are aware of the delicate balance between awareness of danger and creating unnecessary fear or an unwelcoming atmosphere. “Nature Play” activities in the children’s garden and in the bush incorporate risk as an educational tool. 38
Accessibility Transportation to the site is a challenge. It is an hour away from downtown Melbourne with no convenient public transit options. Additionally, the parking lots are not large enough to support the visitation during large events, which occur four times throughout the year. To alleviate this issue, the garden provides pickups from other community locations as part of partnerships with the city of Casey and other organizations. Cranbourne is located in a developing area with good freeway access; as Melbourne expands, access and visitation patterns will likely see significant change. On site, Cranbourne has a garden explorer shuttle with 6 stops and interpretation, which is important for hot days and increasing general accessibility. Strategic Planning Cranbourne is currently working on a new 10-year strategic plan that will be composed of short high level summaries. The previous strategic plan was created in 1995. A working group composed of 8 people is leading the planning process. They are using an external consultant who specializes in socially inclusive planning and are reviewing their organizational structure. Information has been gathered through in person meetings and workshops in addition to online work. One example of a suggested change: the need for a social media officer. Alongside the new strategic plan, Cranbourne is creating a Community Engagement Plan, which will reflect the ideas of the new director. The staff currently does not have a formalized plan for increasing diversity but they would like to have a full time indigenous staff member on the interpretive team. Evaluating Return on Mission and Communication Cranbourne is actively searching for ways to quantify their return on mission and measure community engagement. They partnered with Parks Victoria to fund and create a phone survey in which they determined less than 3% of the people in the state knew about the garden. They received a grant for $26,000 from a garden friends group to do research to gauge the efficacy of the Australian Garden in terms of changing peopleâ€™s gardening behaviors. Does spending time in the garden actually encourage people to use native plants in home gardens? What do they value in the bush, garden, and home, do those values lead to the next step of planting native? The research methodology included intercept surveys in the garden, postal surveys, and a review of nearby neighborhoods. Cranbourne communicates its message through the website, BGCI articles, and a weekly radio program. The garden as an organization, and the garden employees as individuals, are active online and regularly use social media as a promotion tool. Environmental Stewardship The entire site at Cranbourne exists as an interpretive experience for use of Australian native plants and water conscious landscaping. Instead of a traditional centerpiece lake, Cranbourne has the red sand Ephemeral Lake, which visually represents the desert bushland in the center of the continent. Cranbourne has many Demonstration Gardens intended to provide â€œpractical takehome ideasâ€? for visitors. Plantings in this area are readily available for purchase. Because Cranbourne also has remnant bushland, there are also invasive species management plans in place for both flora and fauna. In recent years city suburb limits have come closer to the garden and this has increased the importance of communication with and management of nearby suburban developments. The staff accomplishes this through signage, letter drops, and negotiations. They have significant local support for their management practices, a fact that the staff attributes to the excellent environmental education programs in Australia. 39
Date: January 19, 2016 Garden: Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Outcome Journalist: Erin Kinley Summary and Observations Water conservation is the top priority for this 38-hectare (94 acres) garden. With climate change predicting Melbourne to become much hotter and drier, executives at the garden are building a water-use plan to match the 2090 climate projections for the area. Efforts toward water conservation have already started with the garden’s Working Wetlands project. The Working Wetlands are man-made wetlands designed as floating islands that are small enough to fit in a large pond or small lake. The mobile wetlands can then be moved by motorboat, or lifted out and moved to another body of water, to areas in need of remediation. The Working Wetlands are part of the garden’s efforts to use storm-water runoff from the city to irrigate plants. When it rains, storm-water is diverted to the streams and ponds at RBG Melbourne, where the wetlands are able to remediate the water, which can later be pumped into the garden’s irrigation system. The working wetlands aren’t just functional though--they are also a beautiful feature in the garden. Programming is another important part of RBG Melbourne. The garden strives to connect with as many people as possible through a wide variety of programs, from Moonlight Cinema and punting on their lake to activities for disabled children in their kitchen garden. Creating engaging programs often has trade-offs, though. Last summer the garden partnered with Disney to put a program that featured Disney fairies in the garden. Although incredibly popular, some people were upset by the program because they felt that a botanic garden shouldn’t be partnering with such a commercial entity like Disney. RBG Melbourne has plenty of other ways to engage children, however, and has many programs for schools and school-age children, partnering with the Kids in Nature Network to put some of these on. Administrators say that more market research needs to be done to develop this target audience, though. The may stem from a recent push to include more programming for secondary school students even though the garden’s strength lies in children’s programs and current research shows that children connect better with nature than older students. Age aside, RBG Melbourne measures the success of programming for schools by looking for feedback from teachers of participating classes. Last but not least is RBG Melbourne’s Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology. ARCUE envisions cities using urban ecology not just in parks and other features, but making it a part of daily life for all city inhabitants. ARCUE works to make this a reality by conducting research, training Master’s and PhD students, and providing consultations for cities looking to include urban ecology in their planning. In addition, ARCUE Director Dr. Mark McDonnell travels around the world giving talks to city governments and universities about the importance of urban ecology.
Date: January 21-22, 2016 Garden: Botanic Gardens of South Australia (Adelaide Botanic Garden, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, Wittunga Botanic Garden) Outcome Journalist: Tracy Qiu and Grace Parker Summary and Observations Adelaide’s public programs, which directly serve the organizational value of “Sharing,” can be categorized as youth and adult education. The youth programs cater primarily to students through high school, passing the torch to adult programs thereafter. Youth Programs The SEED program works in tandem with the on-site seed program at Adelaide Botanic Garden. The program partners with 10 schools in Adelaide to protect and propagate from seed endangered species endemic to the region. Similarly to the Project Insitu program at Taronga Zoo, each year a class focuses on a specific species and in turn fulfills the role of teacher the following year, sharing their knowledge with the incoming class. This transfer of information provides the opportunity to grow in stewardship. The Early Years Program aims to help youth develop healthy habits from a young age. Beginning in April of 2015, this four-year program has just completed its first installment. Aligned with the Australian curriculum, the Education Coordinator and the Horticulture Curator work with the teachers and additional caretakers to not only deliver the program, but also engage young students, cementing basic lifestyle concepts that will hopefully continue to grow with the child. Summer is one of the busiest seasons of the year. Thanks to the School Holiday Program, there are a variety of ways to explore and entertain the gardens from the perspective of a youth: • Watercolours for Kids • Garden Critters • City Crop • Making Fire, Making Glue • Dreaming Story Telling Adult Programs The Australian Center for Horticultural Excellence is a training program aiming to advance horticultural capacity using the organization’s unique knowledge, skills, and collections. It provides accredited training in horticulture and non-accredited Master classes. The Certificate III in Horticulture utilizes all three of the Botanic Gardens of South Australia in partnership with ARO Educational Services. Industry-standard subjects such as nursery maintenance, propagation management, and machinery operations prepare trainees for general horticultural careers such as Curator, Horticulturist, or Gardener. Within the Australian Center for Horticultural Excellence lies a healthy range of classes. However, the training is always evolving and become more diverse in its offerings. Unlike ABG, Wittunga Botanic Garden is more of a destination garden in that it is further from the heart of the city and known less readily to the average resident. Wittunga began as a private formal English garden in 1902, was bequeathed to the Botanic
Gardens of South Australia in 1965, and eventually opened to the public in 1975. In 2015, the garden celebrated its 40th anniversary as a public garden on October 17 and hosted a free celebration for the local community members. Today, Wittunga Botanic Gardenâ€™s 14 hectares primarily serves as public spaces for the local community. Among the 90% of the plants that are labeled, 50% are native and special collections include Erica, Kangaroo Island and Fleurieu Peninsula flora. In terms of education, Wittung has set plant and seed exchanges with other gardens as well as research institutions. Staff as well as volunteers are shared among the two sister sites. The volunteer group, known as Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, operates a free-guided tour of Wittunga every Tuesday morning.
People and Organisational Strength
Wildlife in Our Care
Engage and Influence
Centenary Capital Plan
Excellence in Conservation Education
Financial and Environment Sustainability
Transformational Guest Experiences
STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
As leaders in conservation, we protect wildlife and empower people to secure a sustainable future for our planet
Securing a shared future for wildlife and people
Communicate clearly and with one voice
Innovate and take initiative
Show dignity and respect
Accept and take responsibility
Be supportive and enthusiastic
Front Cover: Loggerhead Turtle released to the wild after rehabilitation at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital. PHOTO: JAMES WOODFORD
For additional information on our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan please go to taronga.org.au/strategicplan
Work Health and Safety – because our people make the difference
Sustainability – because we should tread lightly on this planet
Guest Experience – because we believe our guests can become custodians for the wild
Animal Welfare – because we have a responsibility for the care of wildlife
Conservation – because a future without wildlife is not an option
Our commitments and values establish guiding principles for the achievement of our vision and strategic goals. They inform the way that our people work together, our activities and behaviours, and target priority issues for our organisation, our people and our key stakeholders.
Our Commitments Values
• • • • •• •• • • •
Executive Director and Chief Executive Taronga Conservation Society Australia
Thank you for your commitment to Taronga and our vision.
Our Strategic Plan framework is underpinned by our values and supported by organisational commitments to conservation, animal welfare, guest experience, sustainability and work, health and safety.
Building on Taronga’s previous strategic plan, it identifies 5 ‘Strategic Focus Areas’ and 3 ‘Key Enablers’ that are fundamental to achieving our vision. In each of these areas we have goals to maximise the impact of our activities and deliver positive outcomes for wildlife and people. We have also developed specific objectives and measures to monitor our progress and achievements.
In this centenary year the reputation of our organisation has meant that both locally and internationally our capacity building skills, technical support and education services are in ever increasing demand. So we can continue to deliver highly effective outcomes across all our endeavours this 2016 to 2020 Strategic Plan has been developed to ensure we remain focused with clearly defined priorities.
At no time in history has the role of good zoos like Taronga been more important. Without any doubt Australia’s Regent Honeyeater and Corroboree Frog would now be extinct in the wild if it were not for the commitment of Taronga and our partners.
For each goal, specific objectives and measures have been developed to monitor progress across the period of this Strategic Plan.
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5. Expand habitat for native wildlife at our Zoos
4. All species in our care have a clear role that contributes to conservation or education outcomes
3. Develop and carry out community conservation campaigns that achieve positive outcomes for wildlife 5. Deliver an effective wildlife rehabilitation program measured by species survivability and recruitment contributing to tangible conservation outcomes in the wild
4. Ensure best practice health care and nutrition for wildlife in our care
3. Improve the framework within which animal populations are managed at our Zoos and in the region to ensure long term health and sustainability
5. Increase the number of people taking conservation action to support Taronga programs and campaigns
4. Build strong awareness and participation in Taronga community conservation campaigns as part of a visit to our Zoos
3. Guest experiences at our Zoos increase knowledge and transform behaviours to achieve positive outcomes for wildlife
2. 90% of guests would refer a Taronga experience to family and friends
2. Provide dignity and respect for wildlife in our care and lead continuous understanding and improvement in this area
2. Investigate, communicate and implement collaborative scientific programs that inform key environmental issues, improve conservation planning and optimise wildlife management
1. Increase total attendances at our Zoos to 1.9 million per annum by 2020
1. Wildlife at our Zoos are independently assessed as being in a positive welfare state
Transformational Guest Experiences
Attract an increasing number of guests to our Zoos and inspire action through experiences that increase knowledge and change people’s attitudes and behaviours
1. Support conservation initiatives that demonstrate positive impact for wildlife, habitats and communities
Wildlife our Care
Be a leader in the care and presentation of wildlife, providing positive welfare, dignity and respect for all
Actively participate in wildlife conservation initiatives that ensure the long-term security of wildlife in sustainable ecosystems and habitats
OUR STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
4. Create new opportunities for tertiary students to participate in formal education programs at our Zoos
3. Deliver on defined national curriculum outcomes for at least 80% of school education programs
2. Expand the reach of Taronga education programs in the community and online to 100,000 students per annum by 2020
1. Increase participation in education programs at our Zoos to 150,000 students per annum by 2020
Excellence Conservation Education
Increase participation and inspire action for the wild through innovative and authentic education programs
5. Participate by invitation in policy development and reform to maximise outcomes for wildlife
4. Engage a group of Ambassadors to advocate Taronga’s vision
5. Emb and
4. Gene com unde and
3. Use t effici expe with
2. Main dem work envir
2. Build an online advocacy community to drive actions for the wild with a reach of 1 million people by 2020 3. Actively work with Taronga’s corporate partners and major suppliers to achieve sustainability and conservation outcomes
1. Build enga
Support an Taronga’s
1. Double the number of people participating in Taronga membership programs by 2020
Engage, grow and mobilise our members, supporters and networks to achieve positive outcomes for wildlife
itation in policy development aximise outcomes for wildlife
of Ambassadors to advocate
5. Embed a culture of best practice procurement and effective risk management
4. Generate consistent and compelling communications to build knowledge and understanding of Taronga’s vision, mission, role and contributions to wildlife conservation
3. Use technology to improve operational efficiency, create a frictionless guest experience and increase engagement with Taronga
2. Maintain a positive safety culture and demonstrate continuous improvement in work health and safety to ensure a safe environment for our people and guests
dvocacy community to drive ild with a reach of 1 million
h Taronga’s corporate partners ers to achieve sustainability outcomes
1. Build and support a capable, motivated, engaged and high performing team
Support and enable our people to achieve Taronga’s vision and strategic objectives
People Organisational Strength
OUR KEY ENABLERS
er of people participating in rship programs by 2020
obilise our members, orks to achieve positive e
5. Reduce Taronga’s Carbon Footprint by greater than 10% per square metre by 2020
4. Integrate environmental and financial reporting
3. Consider environmental sustainability targets in all business planning processes
2. Raise at least $50 million through the Taronga Foundation for wildlife in our care and for conservation and education programs by 2020
1. Improve financial performance year on year through effective cost management and revenue growth to support Taronga’s operations
Continuous improvement and integration of financial and environmental sustainability
Financial Environmental Sustainability
4. Expand overnight experiences at Taronga Zoo to increase knowledge and transform guest behaviours to achieve positive outcomes for wildlife
3. Establish the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning as a sustainable part of Taronga’s operations
2. All new animal exhibits and guest experiences exceed guest expectations
1. Achieve the vision of the Centenary Capital Plan
Centenary Capital Plan
Deliver the Centenary Capital Plan on time and on budget to secure Taronga’s position as a leading conservation and nature tourism organisation
Strategic Plan 2012 – 2017
Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia Strategic Plan 2012 – 2017
Strategic Plan 2012 – 2017
As keepers of collections and knowledge, we are champions and storytellers of how plants shape our future. We connect people with plants.
Our vision is that we will be unsurpassed in sharing our knowledge of plants. We will be
at the forefront, amongst the world’s leaders in our scientific endeavours and our resolve to meet future challenges. We will be agile in all respects of our business to maintain our relevance to the community. We will be sought after for strong partnerships. The beauty and diversity of our plants and displays will inspire our visitors.
Our strategic plan is comprised of four major themes: Collections, Knowledge, Sharing
and Our Organisation. Within each theme, a series of objectives have been identified,
along with actions that we will use to measure our progress (see over page).
OUR VALUES Connection We seek true connection. We listen, learn and share with others. Stewardship We take a long term view. We prepare for change. We are curating the past and present for the future. Heart We provide places and experiences that inspire, delight and fill the soul. Excellence We are the best in our field and are recognized as leaders. Our views are sought and valued. Fearlessness We acknowledge the importance of our role. We are bold and unafraid to challenge and be challenged. Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017
Enhance our collections Create and showcase beautiful gardens
Share stories about our gardens
Share our space and gardens
We connect people with plants
Share our knowledge of plants
As keepers of collections and knowledge, we are champions and storytellers of how plants shape our future.
Know our collections
COLLECTIONS Learn from others
Enhance knowledge of plants
Make our collections accessible
Utilise efficient business technologies and processes Ensure a world‐class paid and volunteer workforce Develop a diversified and sustainable income stream
Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017
COLLECTIONS Enhance our collections Recognise and safeguard native South Australian Flora Ensure the longevity of tree collections through continuous tree assessment and replacement Apply the highest standard of curatorial practice to enhance our collections Develop and interpret collections that address significant human themes Explore the relationship between art, science and nature as demonstrated by our collections Preserve, maintain and build our cultural heritage for future generations
Make our collections accessible Make collections‐based information accessible Present collections via exhibitions, garden displays, publications and online
Create and showcase beautiful gardens Complete the Master Planning of all gardens Complete First Creek Wetland and ASR project Review and develop focus living collections Identify strategic opportunities to develop new garden displays
Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017
KNOWLEDGE Know our collections Staff and volunteers are empowered to contribute information to collections databases Investigate development of spatial data capabilities, to support living collections management and integration of spatial data with all databases Staff continuously advance knowledge, awareness and appreciation of collections
Enhance knowledge of plants Work with universities and other partners to gather knowledge about plants Encourage staff to research, publish and participate in exchanges of information Identify knowledge gaps in our collections
Learn from others Identify partners, specialists and community groups to increase our knowledge Create opportunities for new knowledge to be shared and or adopted Provide opportunities for the wider community to see the Herbarium Collections
SHARING Share our knowledge of plants Provide integrated learning opportunities, from early years and schools to professional levels in partnerships with educational bodies Through the Green Infrastructure Program, reach into the community, taking our knowledge beyond the garden walls Improve the dissemination of plant‐based information to the general public and the broader scientific community
Share our space and gardens Bring people into our gardens through events and exhibitions Involve plant societies and plants specialists in the presentation of specialist plant collections Establish a Kitchen Garden Create opportunities for virtual sharing of our space and gardens Maintain and upgrade visitor amenities Improve access for people with disabilities
Share stories about our gardens Work with partners and external organisations to enhance visitor experience Develop an Interpretive Master Plan for the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide which outlines strategies and priorities Develop a ‘Treasures of the Collections’ publication promoting the Gardens and State Herbarium as a ‘gallery of plants’
Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017
OUR ORGANISATION Develop a diversified and sustainable income stream Develop and enhance corporate, community and philanthropic partnerships to support program delivery Generate revenue by working in partnership to deliver horticultural training programs in the Centre of Horticultural Excellence Compare business operations against other botanic gardens and collections‐based cultural institutions Develop new business cases that raise revenue and reinforce garden authority and reputation
Utilise efficient business technologies and processes Implement the Gardens Internal Review Demonstrate efficient and responsible water management Implement recommendations from the Think Climate greenhouse gas assessment Develop and enhance our online business capabilities Implement new technologies related to our business operations
Ensure a world‐class paid and volunteer workforce Align training and development opportunities to the strategic plan and encourage staff to participate in professional learning Create a supportive and safe work environment for staff and volunteers Create a community of vibrant, engaged volunteers Ensure the physical safety of staff and visitors through improved security and fire safety measures Foster relationships and work collaboratively with the Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation to increase their support and contribution to the Gardens Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Strategic Plan 2012 - 2017