Research finds faith-based opportunity for gardens

Botanic gardens should scrutinise visitor profiles to become more inclusive of religious groups, according to latest research.

The first ever study of its kind highlighted the potential for staff to actively support faith-based gardening, said Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BCGI).

The group, the largest international network of botanic gardens, said the expertise of staff would be "invaluable in supporting and enabling faith-based gardening projects". Authors Sophie Gilliat-Ray and Mark Bryant, of Cardiff's Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, said gardens should be encouraged to examine their visitor profiles with a view to becoming more inclusive of faith communities.

BGCI director of education Julia Willison said: "This is hugely significant and groundbreaking work, opening up the prospect of new and exciting opportunities."

Botanic gardens could engage with local communities, reaching out especially to social or faith-based groups that almost never visited botanic gardens.

The study aimed to examine botanic gardens' potential for promoting biodiversity and sustainability in the Muslim community as well as fostering improved inter-faith understanding.

- To view the report, visit

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