Botanic Gardens Conservation International
BGCI provides a global voice for all botanic gardens, championing and celebrating their inspiring work. We are the world's largest plant conservation network, open to all. Join us in helping to save the world's threatened plants.

World Botanic Gardens Congress

Volume 3 Number 3 - December 1999


We invite you to join with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA) and the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) sister institutions and organizations and public/botanic garden colleagues from around the world to participate in the first World Botanic Gardens Congress, to be held in Asheville, North Carolina, June 25-30, 2000, hosted by the North Carolina Arboretum.

The Organizers

BGCI is a worldwide network of botanic gardens working for plant conservation and environmental awareness. Established in 1987, BGCI now includes more than 500 member gardens in 110 countries. BGCI publishes magazines, a series of technical guides, and policy publications on issues relevant to botanic gardens. Worldwide, it promotes programmes focussed on capacity building, training and networking. BGCI headquarters are in the United Kingdom; regional officers are located in Colombia, China, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States. The AABGA supports North American botanical gardens and arboreta, public horticultural organizations, their staffs, and their trustees by promoting their value, by setting and promoting professional standards, by facilitating the exchange of information, and by advocating the collective interests of its members. Begun in the 1940s, AABGA has 475 institutional members and 2,000 individual members. It publishes a magazine, newsletter, and numerous directories, surveys, and other practical books. Committees and working groups undertake projects to achieve the Association’s goals. The CPC is the only non-governmental organisation in the U.S.A. dedicated solely to preventing the extinction of native U.S. plants and restoring them to natural habitats. Founded in 1984, the CPC is a coalition of 29 leading U.S. botanical institutions which emphasizes off-site conservation of America’s rarest plants and associated efforts in recovery, research, and education.

The Congress

At this landmark congress, a wide variety of delegates representing a diverse range of public and botanical gardens and other environmental and conservation institutions will come together to learn from one another and share their experience. The Congress will expand collaborations within and among the world's botanic gardens and their networks in the presentation, preservation, and sustainable use of the earth's plants and habitats. A major objective of the Congress will be to help the botanic garden community to forge deeper and more diverse cooperative partnerships with other sectors of the botanical and conservation communities.

The Congress will focus on strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of public gardens in every area of activity and in every part of the world. It will feature plenary lectures by world-renowned authorities, as well as in-depth group discussions of critical issues. Institutional capacity building, outreach, and cooperation will be promoted when we will strive to achieve common objectives and the fair use of resources.

The 1st World Botanic Gardens Congress (WBGC) will mark the launch of The International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation – a new worldwide strategy for botanic gardens for the next millennium. This International Agenda represents the culmination of a two year worldwide consultation and development process initiated at BGCI’s 5th International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress in Cape Town, South Africa (September 1998). It incorporates the priorities and concerns of botanic gardens in all parts of the world that were involved in its drafting.

WBGC delegates will develop the new vision for plant conservation in botanical gardens and seek ways to implement the International Agenda within a warm atmosphere of mutual assistance and shared commitment. Working together we will provide a blueprint for accomplishment in the first decades of the next Century.

The Congress opens on Sunday, June 25, with a gala reception at the North Carolina Arboretum. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will include congress sessions dealing with every aspect of effective public garden management and development, horticulture, education, training, research and conservation. Each day particular themes will be developed in a series of sessions, which will begin with a thought-provoking plenary address. Wednesday will be devoted to tours of interesting horticultural and environmental sites. Recommendations derived from discussions and workshops held throughout the Congress will focus on the priorities and ways in which gardens can implement the International Agenda. The conclusions of the Congress will be summarized at the closing session on Friday. There will be many opportunities to interact with colleagues in relaxed and interesting social settings and to explore the Asheville area. Pre and post-Congress tours will introduce you to the many fascinating environments and gardens of the southeastern U.S.A.

The Venue: Asheville

The beautiful town of Asheville, known as the "Land of the Sky," is located at the convergence of the Great Smoky and the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain chain which traverses the southeastern United States, from north to south. The area is not only renowned for its wonderful natural environment and abundance of biodiversity but also for its architecture, arts, culture and handicrafts, and for its southern hospitality. The atmosphere, the people and the inspiring scenery are all part of what make Asheville and western North Carolina such a unique Congress site.

The Congress is being hosted by The North Carolina Arboretum, spreading over 426 forested acres and surrounded by Experimental and National Forest. The Arboretum is an important regional and international resource for education, conservation and enjoyment and is home to a fascinating variety of plants. The Congress will be sited at the world famous Grove Park Inn Resort, a grand mountain resort built at the turn of the century.

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