BGANZ provides several Professional Development opportunities to members, including the annual BGANZ/APGA Scholarship.
Sharon Willoughby, formerly of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, Victoria, now Kew Gardens, UK, received the inaugural award in 2016. Sharon received a free registration, value $800 USD, to attend the 2016 Conference in Miami, Florida, USA.
Julia Watson is the 2017 BGANZ/APGA Scholarship recipient.
Julia is the Education and Partnership Co-ordinator at Auckland Botanic Gardens, and was awarded the 2017 BGANZ/APGA Scholarship, which enabled her to travel to Hamilton Botanic Gardens and Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, for the Annual Conference of the American Public Gardens Association.
Julia is a well-known member of the botanic garden community of New Zealand and Australia. She has contributed to numerous feature articles in The Botanic Gardener (a BGANZ publication released three times each year), sharing her insights about successful ways to engage with the community and using case studies from her own Botanic Garden to illustrate. Most notably, Julia documented Auckland’s highly successful Dinosaurs in the Gardens campaign, in Issue 47 of The Botanic Gardener. Julia is also the current Convenor of the Botanic Gardens Education Network, a sub-group of BGANZ, and actively posts on the BGANZ blog. Julia has an established profile in her professional community, and the BGANZ/APGA Scholarship provides an opportunity to extend her voice across an international network.
The theme of the 2017 APGA Conference was ‘Celebrating Connections’. The Keynote speaker was Colonel Chris Hadfield, and astronaut and First Canadian Commander of the International Space Station. The Plenary Speaker was ethnobotanist Dr Nancy Turner, a Trudeau Fellow and Emeritus Professor. These headliners were joined by a world class program of speakers including Julia Watson. Julia also got the chance to visit several botanic gardens in Canada and the US to draw inspiration and share her own knowledge.
Julia was invited to speak at the International Session at the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) conference in Canada. She was a panelist alongside Paul Smith (Secretary General, Botanic Gardens Conservation International), Peter Raven (President Emeritus Missouri Botanical Garden), Steve Bloom (CEO, Portland Japanese Garden) and Craig Regelbrugge (Senior Vice President Industry Advocacy and Research, American Hort). While the topics were wide ranging (from preserving the entire world’s flora to understanding the diversity of cultures), all speakers acknowledged and emphasized the vital role botanic gardens and parks play in conservation, research, education and community engagement. Other common themes included the importance of ‘pollination’ and how botanic gardens and parks can make a difference globally. These collaborative, international opportunities form a strong foundation for future projects within the botanic garden network