11- 18 Year oldsEncounters with Naturalists
Many botanic garden education programs are no doubt a little like ours – a relatively small budget, minimal staff, but lots of ideas waiting for a chance to be converted into reality. One way to get around these frustrating roadblocks is to piggyback onto the large number of local and national events and celebrations that fill our calendars. Such opportunities not only provide smaller gardens with ready made community, government and corporate partners but they can also provide a supportive infrastructure for outreach community programs that are normally beyond the limited resources of most gardens.
During 1996-97, Eco-clubs were created in 20 schools in three districts (Karur, Trichy and Dindugal) of Tamil Nadu in India. The official launch of the Clubs began with a Green Peace Walk, a 9km walk with 1000 children from 20 schools in collaboration with the Environmental Directorate, Forest Department and a local college to create awareness against forest clearing and biodiversity conservation. The idea behind the establishment of Eco-Clubs is to involve school children in the long-term conservation of forest resources and to create green consciousness.
Based on a current real-life scenario in Australia, this role play was designed for senior high school and university students with the aim of increasing their understanding and awareness about the needs and issues faced by different wildlife users. Once the scene is set, students are assigned different character roles. They are given time for preparation, and then invited to a meeting to work out a strategy for the park. The role-play concludes with a short debriefing session.
The programme aims to empower the community with horticultural skills, to improve the quality of life and to conserve and promote the environment for the benefit of all communities in South Africa, through training and greening programmes.