Communication, Education & Public Awareness

“A steppe in bloom in Vienna” – the International Day of Biodiversity 2006 at the Botanical Garden, University of Vienna

The International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated on 22 May around the world, also was subject of activities at the Botanical Garden of University of Vienna (HBV). Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and by the Natural Heritage-Initiative of the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Vienna, the HBV presented its activities related to the “dry areas”-subject of the International Day: “A steppe in bloom in Vienna”.

The emphasis of celebrating this day was to link the global theme “protection of biodiversity in drylands” with information about the Austrian drylands, i.e., the Pannonian dry area grassland vegetation, especially in order to raise awareness for the threats this vegetation is facing presently. The concept was to inform and to answer questions in a very pleasant garden-atmosphere. The idea was further to approach different target groups: kids, families, general visitors, tourists and retired people.

The program combined information about Pannonian dry area grasslands in Austria (using the open-air display of Pannonian plants in the HBV) with a small festivity with music, products and wine from the Pannonian region, and carriage rides through the garden area for kids. This was combined with different kinds of information, e.g., ex-situ activities to protect dry area plant species of the BG Vienna, how to create natural ponds and meadows in private yards (by the initiative “die umweltberatung” of the City of Vienna), or news about truffles in Austria and the new product truffle-trees for private yards (by the company “Trüffelgarten”). The information was given by posters and information sheets, by 3 temporary information kiosks, by a special program for kids with three modules (developed and managed by the green school of the BG Vienna) and by a special guided tour carried out by a scientist of the Faculty Center of Botany of the University of Vienna.

Looking back, this special day was a really good day for plants, for the botanical garden and for visitors who attend the different activities and enjoyed information combined with pleasure and joy.

The Programme of May 22, 2006, at the HBV:

2 – 3.30 pm opportunity for consultation by botanists of University Vienna for visitors
4 pm special guided tour: Pannonian dry grassland areas and there plants
6 pm about truffles and truffle-trees (in Austria)
2 - 6 pm drive a coach pulled by ponies for kids
2 – 6 pm programme for kids with riddle rally, painting activities and plant
2 – 6 pm information kiosk and other kiosks

information: BG Vienna, „die umwelberatung“ (City of Vienna), Trüffelgarten (company), side actions: Weinheuriger der Fa. Friedrich, home-made marmalades and liquors from Mr. Leitner (Leitha am Gebirge).