BOODEREE Botanic Gardens has won international recognition with level-two accreditation from the Morton Arboretum in the US.
Joining 24 other arboreta and botanic gardens in Australia, including the National Arboretum of Canberra, the accreditation program is run globally by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program in co-operation with the American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
Booderee Botanic Gardens operations manager Martin Fortescue said the process took 12 months and the accreditation was a fantastic opportunity for the garden to compare with others internationally and gain further knowledge on how it can improve.
“From time to time we do look at how we do on an international benchmark, to see how we compare with others,” Mr Fortescue said.
“It’s so great to then get this recognition back and we have won a few awards as well and that gives us confidence and shows that Booderee is a well-managed place.
“It’s very reassuring to gain that acknowledgement – it’s not easy when you work in aremote area like this – and everyone from Booderee should be very proud of themselves for what they put in.”
Mr Fortescue said Booderee’s desire to be benchmarked at a higher level had also allowed it to see how it compares on an international level.
“Booderee is right up there against others,” he said.
“We have around 450,000 visitors a year, which is huge, and we aim to inspire and touch a lot of people, which is easy to do because it is such a spiritual place.
“What is a real feature of Booderee is its Aboriginal ownership. It is the only one in the world like it and we try to promote that because it is what makes it so special.
“It’s also great to know that while we may be achieving those things for our visitors we are also achieving great national standards in management, conservation, development and professionalism.”
Four levels of accreditation are offered, recognising arboreta and botanic gardens of various degrees of development, capacity and professionalism.
Mr Fortescue said Booderee Botanic Gardens was working toward level-three accreditation with the ArbNet program.
“We’re really excited to be working with Morton Arboretum on this accreditation process,” Mr Fortescue said.
“They’re doing some really exciting work and the chance to compare our knowledge and skills with them is fantastic.”
Mr Fortescue said Booderee is also celebrating the recent release of a book called Booderee National Park: the jewel of Jervis Bay which he was co-author of, along with David Lindenmayer, Christopher MacGregor and Nick Dexter. He said it is just another way Booderee has worked on promoting itself and achieving a higher standard.
“The book is about the conservation work of the National Park and we continue that through other avenues like our partnerships with universities,” he said.