Role of online media and virtual networking

What are the roles of online media and virtual networking for botanic gardens. Much has already been done but I am sure that botanic gardens could share their experiences.

  • This question comes from Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson (Missouri BG) and I would be very interested in feedback from the community!

Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden just celebrated its 10-year birthday on June 26th. Because of the pandemic, we did not have traditional ceremony. However, we have organized special online events for our 10th anniversary and attracted huge attention.

We made a series of short videos about Chenshan Botanical Garden, including greetings from Paul Smith, Secretary General of BGCI, Richard Deverell, Director of Kew Gardens, and Peter Jackson, President of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The videos were uploaded into Xinhua News Agency’s APP and more than 230,000 people watched the videos in a day. We are so proud to the member of global botanical gardens’ family.

Working with Tencent, a famous high-tech company, we had a 1-hour online tour with an Internet celebrity to show blooming flowers, such as roses, and unique landscapes in the garden. Half a million people followed the tour.

Before and after June 26th, we also organized other online activities. I was interviewed by Oriental Broadcast Station, a Shanghai-based news agency talking about the history of the botanical gardens and the role of a botanical garden like Chenshan BG in Shanghai in this changing world. My colleagues were leading the online tours for Roes, Iris and Chinese herbaceous peonies with different news agencies and new media APPs.

Google Arts and Culture have just published a useful guide on how to stay connected with your visitors/audiences online. See their digital toolkit at

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Thanks Paul that’s a fabulous resource. Here at the Auckland Botanic Gardens we have moved all our programmes online using our social media platforms. It has been well received by the public. Investing time in upskilling our team is a key priority now too as we see that this type of digital engagement is a vital tool in our toolkit going forward.

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Chinese Union of Botanical Gardens (CUBG) is working on an open online course platform now. As many Chinese botanical gardens know, CUBG ran several offline training courses every year since 2013, but for this year, because of the COVID-19, we are considering using online media to deliver the courses. Chinese people are getting used to learning online, using pockets of time to learn, paying for quality content online, and these popular phenomena that show no signs of slowing down. We are trying to keep up with the trends, providing quality content for the staff of all Chinese botanical gardens. We are hoping Chinese botanical gardens could benefit from this platform. As far as I know, many botanical gardens in the world have extensive experience in this area. Any suggestions and cooperation opportunities are very welcome! You can contact me through Thanks very much!

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Thank you Xiyang that is very interesting. It would be interesting to hear what trends or topics you are seeing and responding to?

We are noticing that a lot of people are interested in indoor plants, as well as how to garden in small spaces e.g. courtyards, balconies.

Hello BGCIers.

If you are involved in education and engagement you may be interested in the recording of a presentation titled ‘New approaches to digital learning’ from our Botanic Gardens Engagement Network (BGEN) forum held in September.

The paragraph below describes the presentation, and you can access it via this link (and discover other links to useful resources that were shared at our BGEN forum).

New approaches to digital learning:
Hear from members of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Education Team (Emily Barrow and Ella Mulvey) about their fresh approaches to digital learning.

The team will share their reflections on recent innovations and how they have approached digital learning over the past six months. They will also describe their newly launched bio-design STEM programme Designed by Nature . This presentation is a great opportunity for fellow botanic gardens professionals involved with education, visitor engagement and digital technology to hear about innovative approaches to learning, especially during these times of the pandemic.