The Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, a network of organizations coordinated by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia, recently received the American Public Garden Association’s 2013 Award for Program Excellence in recognition of its innovative approach in developing new programs.
Jennifer Ceska, conservation coordinator at the botanical garden, accepted the award on behalf of GPCA at the association’s annual meeting last month in Phoenix, Ariz.
“GPCA is one of the best-integrated conservation programs in the county, reaching across many individuals and institutions,” said Peter White, director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden. “What you see in this program is robust and uplifting…it is about people and the good they can do when they work together.”
The alliance was established in 1995 by the State Botanical Garden, Callaway Gardens, the Atlanta Botanical Garden,the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section, the US Forest Service and others as a vehicle for initiating and effectively managing statewide conservation projects, often in close cooperation with neighboring states. As a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit, the State Botanical Garden provides both the public and the university with opportunities for recreation, events, research and learning.
Today, GPCA comprises 36 gardens, organizations, universities and agencies that work with more than 70 rare and endangered plant species throughout Georgia, including the U.S. Forest Service, Zoo Atlanta, Georgia Power, the Chattahoochee Nature Center and more. These organizations are supported by the Botanical Guardians, another program at the botanical garden at UGA that recruits volunteers to help discover, monitor and restore native plant populations.
The American Public Gardens Association has 500 member institutions located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and seven other countries. The APGA is committed to increasing the knowledge of public garden professionals throughout North America through information sharing, professional development, networking, public awareness and research.