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FIGURE 6

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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.

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2016 International Experience_Australia  
2016 International Experience_Australia  
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