Mission: "To protect and enrich the flora of the Lake Baikal area and the world for people through public education, collection, propagation, research, and conservation of plants".
The Botanic Garden of the Irkutsk State University (BGISU) occupies 27 hectares within Irkutsk city, 70 kilometers west of Lake Baikal. The BGISU is the only botanical garden in Irkutsk region and in the Baikalian Siberia included in International Directory of Botanical Gardens. As a living museum the BGISU serves as an educational tool for students and general public. .
The Irkutsk State University Botanical Garden: A Brief Description
The Botanical Garden is attached to the Biology and Soil Department of Irkutsk State University (ISU), and was founded in 1940. It is the only botanical garden in Irkutsk Oblast and in the Lake Baikal region that is included in the International Register of Botanical Gardens of the World. The Garden occupies about 30 hectares within the city of Irkutsk, and functions in the complex conditions of a harsh continental climate with a severe, extended winter.
The plant collections include over 4,000 taxons, and it is the largest Botanical Garden in the enormous territory between the cities of Novosibirsk and Vladivostok. On the basis of these collections the Garden hosts scientific, environmental, educational, and recreational activities. The Garden has 16 full-time employees, and field work is carried out by students from various departments of ISU and other universities and colleges of Irkutsk Oblast. About 100 students per year from ISU participate in volunteer work at the Garden.
The Botanical Garden has programs in garden therapy, and in environmental education and outreach. The primary targeted audience is pre-school and school children, families with children, and students. There are about 20,000 visitors per year. Tours are conducted using two greenhouses and an arboretum. In the greenhouses, besides the usual exhibits, there are ones entitled “A Japanese Garden,” “The Green Inheritance of Hiroshima,” and “An Aquatic Garden.” In the Arboretum there are displays such as “A Heather Garden,” an ethnobotanical exhibit, an ecology trail with plants representing Baikal flora, and an area for “Garden Therapy.” Thematic tours have been designed around the seasons of the year, and tailored to particular age groups of children. Occasional public events are held with the help of volunteers and students such as: “Bird Day,” “Handicrafts Fair,” and the sports-based holiday event “May Day.” During the winter the main venue for conducting excursions is the greenhouse with its collections of tropical plants.
At the present time, thanks to government support, the Botanical Garden’s infrastructure is being upgraded. The entrance road is being repaired, paths are being covered and ramps installed in the greenhouse to ensure access for handicapped visitors, a ventilation system is being installed in the greenhouse, and a high-quality road and path network is being made for the principle tour routes. New displays are underway: “A Korean Garden,” “A Medicinal Orchard,” and “A Sensual-Touch Path.” Landscaping, and the creation of these new exhibits, will definitely increase visitor levels at the Botanical Garden.
One of the most immediate tasks of the Botanical Garden is the development of programs of environmental education and outreach. The goal of such programs is the creation of a cultural-educational venue where people of the region can become engaged in the study and preservation of their natural and cultural heritage. Two recently hired employees will be responsible for these programs. We plan on the following basic directions of development:
1.Year-round interactive thematic studies for pre-school and school-age children of different ages, which will include elements of games, organizing special environmental festival days, exhibits, master classes, and other public events.
2.Building of close cooperation with city schools for conducting thematic studies at the Garden, including in the interactive computer classroom with microscopes.
3.Development of programs and seminars for teacher training and tour guides.
4.Continuing garden therapy programs with new components of art therapy for various targeted population groups, and including field trips.
5.Development of a system of interpretative signage, including translations in English and Chinese, for independent visits to the Botanical Garden. Making of plant labels with QR codes.
6.Development and publication of printed materials for visitors.
7.Upgrade of the internet site of the Botanical Garden and an active presence in social networks.
8.Working out active cooperation with other museums of the city and the region with the goal of jointly advancing educational products such as the creation of multi-museum outings.
Botanic Garden of the Irkutsk State University
93 Koltsov Street, P.O. Box 1457
Irkutsk, 664039, Russia