BioRisk 3: 21-25, doi: 10.3897/biorisk.3.34
The biodiversity network BioFrankfurt: An innovative strategic approach to integrative research, conservation, and education
Jenny Krutschinna, Bruno Streit
Abstract Responding to inadequate awareness of the outstanding importance of biodiversity, the BioFrankfurt network was founded in 2004 in the State of Hesse, Germany. It is presented here as a case study and may serve as a model for other parts of the world, such as the Middle East. In 2007, only about 26% of the German population were familiar with the term “Biodiversity”, and most of them only had a vague idea about its meaning. The BioFrankfurt network of institutions addressed this problem, raising public awareness and supporting research, education and conservation. A regional biodiversity education program has been developed and delivered to more than 500 schools. Since 2007, an innovative public relations campaign combines raising awareness on regional biodiversity issues with activities to improve the public image of the Frankfurt area. Because of its geographical focus, the network’s activities gained the attention of local and regional politicians and other decision makers, culminating in the joint establishment of a new Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre by BioFrankfurt member institutions. The success of current activities attracts interesting partners, resulting in challenging cooperation initiatives. The authors are convinced that the network’s concepts and activities have a great potential to profoundly enhance the notion and acceptance of biodiversity issues elsewhere.