The Unique Power of Collaboration between Botanic Gardens as a Gateway to Inspiring Young People
Reading Time 2 minutes
Date 9 February 2024
Botanic gardens have a key role in the learning landscape as a resource for communicating key issues, such as the biodiversity crisis, to the visitors, pupils and their families that they engage with. They have huge potential to demonstrate the relevance of the biodiversity crisis to young people in Scotland, by sharing the research carried out in Scottish botanic gardens, providing local and relatable examples for pupils to be inspired by.
Over this last year, education and community teams from across St Andrews Botanic Garden, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and University of Dundee Botanic Garden have embarked on a new partnership – developing a brand-new biodiversity-focused workshop to be delivered collectively, reaching hundreds of pupils across Scotland. This is the first time all three education teams have come together for a project of this extent of collaboration and reach.
This hands-on, curriculum-linked workshop – “Plant Protectors” - will be delivered to schools around Scotland, as well as at public events and workshops. It will focus on sharing how botanic gardens and their partners are taking action to tackle the biodiversity crisis, using exciting and engaging activities, providing relatable case studies and role models for young people find inspiration from.
As well as working in partnership to develop workshop content, our team at St Andrews Botanic Garden have been busy applying for travel funding to support schools in attending these workshops, targeting schools in areas of socio-economic deprivation to reduce the gap in opportunities for these pupils. Thanks to the New Park Educational Trust, schools will be able to receive up to £300 in funding to support travel to St Andrews Botanic Garden to take part in Plant Protectors.
The Plant Protectors workshop will launch in March 2023, with a special two-week programme of school visits, celebrating both the launch of our collaborative biodiversity workshop and British Science Week. This celebration will culminate in a community weekend, with events for families to attend together, allowing pupils to share their learning with their whole family unit and encourage continued learning at home. St Andrews Botanic Garden will also join the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s team onsite at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for events as part of Edinburgh Science Festival 2024 next spring, engaging new audiences with our work here at the Garden and sharing the new biodiversity workshop.
Following these workshops, participants will be able to continue their learning using the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Plant Kind resource – an interactive online platform which creates a network of people taking action to protect plants and biodiversity by encouraging schools, community groups and individuals to share what they’re doing to protect plants. The Plant Protectors workshop, developed in collaboration with University of Dundee Botanic Garden and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, will also become part of our schools programme for lots more classes to be inspired by and enjoy!