Providing a better understanding of biodiversity for the general public

This project ultimately targets the Vietnamese public and the public as a whole. Conservation and especially national parks are relatively new to much of the Vietnamese public, so it is imperative to increase awareness. Bach Ma National Park can be used as a model for other national parks in Vietnam; the project has worked with national park personnel to produce interpretive signage and to label species of interest along educational trails. The bilingual website will make news and knowledge of Vietnam's flora broadly available. It will not only provide access to the data, but there also will be image-rich and feature stories about new species and field projects, not unlike what is already presented for animals on the VAST website. The project will be featured in NYBG's website (1 million users annually).

The goals of our training activities for this project were to build capacity to collect, (photo-)document, database, curate, protect, and communicate about Vietnam's plant diversity. Students and national park guards and staff learned plant collection and digital photography; herbarium staff and students learned to mount and image collections, and database them using BRAHMS. Using field images and fresh identifications, we are helping national park personnel enhance their public outreach by developing brochures, labeling plants along trails, and composing interpretive signage.