The first Taxonomy Recognition Day hits 10 European Countries

On the 23rd of May, 16 Institutions celebrated the first Taxonomy Recognition Day simultaneously in 10 different European Countries. In Brussels, CETAF partnered with the Belgian Institute of Natural Science. The continent-wide event, born under the EU-funded project TETTRIs, marks a milestone in advancing the recognition and appreciation of taxonomy’s critical role in our society, including biodiversity preservation. And it’s only the beginning… 

Taxonomy is the science of naming and classifying organisms. TETTRIs, the pioneering EU-funded initiative dedicated to enhancing taxonomic capacity across Europe, celebrated the first Taxonomy Recognition Day on May 23, 2024.

In 10 European countries, 16 institutions hosted events to jointly celebrate Taxonomy by inviting leaders from academia and industry, policymakers, students and journalists to explore and underline the profound impact of taxonomy in a wide array of disciplines – and our daily lives.

This landmark event marked a significant milestone in elevating the recognition and appreciation of taxonomy’s vital role in preserving global biodiversity.

Timed to honour the birthday of Carl Linnaeus, the revered “father of Taxonomy,” May 23rd Taxonomy Recognition Day was created to spotlight taxonomy’s indispensable role in our everyday lives, conservation efforts and many industrial practices. By bringing together multi-sector stakeholders, the TETTRIs community kick-started talks to cement the sustainable integration of taxonomy. It will be celebrated every year from now on.

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (who organised in coordination with CETAF) opened its door for guests at 1 PM, to bring together members of the European Commission, policy-makers, journalists, scientists and students.

RBINS and CETAF decided to go for a mixed event: an introductory speech on the relevance of Taxonomy in everyday life by Frederik Hendrickx (TETTRIs Financial Coordinator) and the importance of this science for preserving biodiversity by Ana Casino (CETAF Executive Director and TETTRIs Technical Coordinator) introduced the visits to the collections. Four different tours of the taxonomic collections and the DNA Lab allowed the guests to go behind the scenes and realise how complex and important the taxonomy work is. After a well-deserved coffee, members of the public participated in a special poster session highlighting taxonomic work conducted in Belgium. With almost 20 posters, the public could see how complex and multifaceted is the profession of taxonomists. It was the occasion for Director Casino to give the E-SCoRe Award directly to the 2024 winner, Nathan Vranken, who was presenting his poster in the session.
The meeting has been closed by Thierry Backeljau who showed, with direct examples, how taxonomy is
alive and kickin’… 

Highlights of the Day:

Europe-wide Celebrations: From Paris to Prague, Copenhagen to Crete, Berlin to Florence and places in between, multiple cities hosted a series of events, drawing leaders from academia, industry, policy, and media to explore and emphasise taxonomy’s profound impact.

Public Engagement: Institutions across 10 countries and 16 prestigious organizations opened their doors, offering tours, interactive sessions, and educational programs to engage the public in understanding the significance of taxonomy.

Industry and Academic Insights: Experts discussed the critical role of taxonomy in fields such as agriculture, business development, medicine, and cosmetics, highlighting its foundational basis for biodiversity protection.

Future Initiatives: The event is the first of a yearly occurrence. Conversation, meeting and networking from this year will go into planning an even larger scale festival next year, to integrate taxonomy into multiple sectors for the sustainability of our conservation efforts. 

“May 23rd is the birthday of Carl Linnaeus who said, “If you do not know the names of things, the knowledge of them is lost, too.” We are losing species at an unprecedented rate. To safeguard nature, we need more tools and capacity for accurate species recognition. This is why Taxonomy Recognition Day is not just a celebration; it’s a call to action,” said Marta Leon, project manager of the TETTRIs consortium. 

The event successfully highlighted the relevance of taxonomy across various sectors and its integration into daily life, fostering a positive move towards greater support for taxonomists and their invaluable work. It set the stage for future initiatives and partnerships aimed at enhancing taxonomic research and education.

Where TRD took place? Which were the partners?

Belgium: CETAF, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Meise Botanic Garden.

Finland: Finnish Museum of Natural History 

Germany: Free University of Berlin – Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin,  European Citizen Science Association, State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart

Sweden: Gothenburg National History Museum, Gothenburg University, the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, and Västra Götaland Regional

Czech Republic: Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences 

France: Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle 

Greece: Natural History Museum of Crete-University of Crete 

Denmark: Natural History Museum of Denmark 

Austria: Natural History Museum of Vienna 

Italy: University of Florence 

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