22/05/2017

International Biodiversity Day and ‘Let it Grow’ Campaign

Coinciding with the celebration of International Biodiversity Day, on Monday 22 May different city institutions talk about their activities related to protecting local biodiversity and their commitment to the European campaign ‘Let it grow’. There will also be different activities in which the general public can participate

The ‘Let it grow’ campaign, in which 233 institutions participate, is jointly promoted by the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (Ecsite), the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) and the Botanic Gardens Conservation International association (BGCI), with the objective of raising awareness on the importance of local biodiversity and encouraging citizens to value and protect it. This three associations are joining forces to work together to contribute to the application of the Aichi Convention on Biological Diversity, especially its Target 1, which reads: ‘By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably’. 

In Barcelona, several city institutions and some members of these organisations have joined the campaign to develop projects jointly. This group of institutions is made up of the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona (Ecsite and BGCI), the Barcelona Zoo (member of EAZA), the Barcelona City Council via its Department of Environment and Urban Services-Urban Ecology, the Barcelona Science Programme of the Barcelona Institute of Culture (Ecsite) and the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (BGCI).

Activities on local biodiversity

On 27 and 28 May, the second ‘Let it grow’ weekend will be held at the Barcelona Zoo. On Saturday, the activity ‘Care for it well’ will be done, so that visitors understand the responsibility involved in taking care of animals; a chat on reintroducing animals and the conservation of species—specifically on the Dorcas gazelle project in Senegal—and other activities, including ‘The why of ants’, the ‘Urban garden’ and ‘Cuisine from heaven' with birdfeeders. On Sunday there will be a talk on the history of the Aquarama and three activities involving seahorses: ‘The magic box’, ‘Hide’ and ‘Unexpected father’. 

Further, this same weekend the 2017 Science Festival will be held at Ciutadella Park, with a series of informative days on biodiversity in cities and climate change. The activity is being hosted by Barcelona Science and the Barcelona Institute of Culture, along with other city institutions. The purpose of the festival is to involve citizens in protecting local biodiversity and in building insect hotels.

Last weekend, 20 and 21 May, Bioblitz Barcelona 2017 was celebrated and well received at the Historic Botanical Garden. A group of expert scientists took part in this initiative, who invited families to participate in the process to identify all the organisms in a specific area, with nature walks and participation in taking inventory of the diversity in the local natural world. The day was organised by the Natural Science Museum, the Botanical Institute, the Barcelona City Council and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. 

In addition to these scheduled activities, institutions participating in the campaign carried out numerous long term actions related to local biodiversity, ranging from scientific to raising awareness.

Some concrete examples include those on seed packets ‘Wild plants of Barcelona’ available to citizens who want to plant native species on their balconies or in their gardens (Barcelona Natural Science Museum); the project to study invasive plants on Montjuïc (Botanical Institute of Barcelona); the programme of activities to raise awareness by the libraries and community centres to explain the objectives of the campaign ‘Let it grow’ (Programme of Barcelona Science, part of the Barcelona Institute of Culture); the programming of diverse educational activities on local fauna and the environment (Barcelona Zoo); and the naturalisation of reservoirs, installation of different structures to favour urban fauna, and diverse actions to connect citizens to nature, such as the virtual map ‘Barcelona +sustainable’ (Barcelona City Council’s Environment and Urban Services-Urban Ecology).

More complete information on these actions is available in the attached document.

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