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Education Outreach Unit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

Volume 1 Number 9 - July 1994
Sharon Hughes

The work of the Mobile Education Unit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K. began in October 1993.  The aim of the Unit is to provide outreach education to schools about plants and their potential for environmental education and the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens.  Target schools include those unable to visit Kew and those unaware of the resources that exist at Kew.  

Deciding on the Programme

In developing this new programme the education staff at Kew felt more emphasis needed to be placed on schools, both locally and further afield, that were not benefitting from the resources available.  The reasons identified for this were varied and included; insufficient support for outside visits, limited understanding of the value of plant based teaching and disabilities of the pupils.  To address these issues and to promote environmental education across the curriculum, an outreach programme was seen as a suitable development of Kew's core education programme.

The Unit

The Unit, built to Kew's specification, is 7 meters in length.  Staffed by one full-time teacher, Sharon Hughes, the Unit is towed by a Landrover.  It incorporates an open stage area to one side, study benches, video, TV and slide projection facilities, laboratory equipment and a small specialised library which is changed frequently to compliment particular themes.  Plant-based artifacts and live plant material are carried in the Unit to support the Economic Botany focus of the education programmes.  

The Unit will be used for outreach to schools nationally, on a bookable basis with both direct teaching and teacher training courses being run there.  The Unit will also be used at a variety of educational events, conferences and exhibitions.  It will be based at a central place within a local education authority area, usually a teacher's centre or at a school which is accessible for other schools.  Generally the Unit will remain in one place for a week, working with local schools during the day and holding training courses in the early evening for teachers.  These events will be organised in consultation with each local education authority in partnership with the local botanic garden and/or environmental groups.

Working in Collaboration

The work of the Unit will support and highlight the Botanic Garden Education Network in the U.K.  It will encourage schools to investigate resources at their local botanic garden, aiming to raise the understanding of international conservation through development education and to set up local Agenda 21 initiatives, through addressing local conservation issues.  By highlighting the uses and importance of the school grounds and the local built environment, opportunities will present themselves for community involvement.

The Unit's role as a networking facility is of paramount importance.  In each area the Unit will work alongside local groups to provide them with resources from Kew in order to complement their work and highlight their role within schools.

Supporting Material

The Royal Botanic Garden, Kew is currently producing a schools' pack called "Plants Across the Curriculum".  The aim of the pack, which will be given free to all schools using the Unit, will be to encourage schools to use their local botanic gardens and to develop teaching activities through plant based information.  The pack will contain teaching activities and resources, including slides of all the plants featured in the Unit.  It will promote knowledge and uses of plants common to the local environment of city schools from around the world and will emphasise the multicultural relevance of plants within all aspects of the school curriculum.

About the Author

This is an exciting time for the project.  I would like to hear from anyone who has any ideas for the project or would like to work in partnership with the project as it develops.

Ms Sharon Hughes
Education Officer - Outreach
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Kew, Richmond
Surrey TW9 3AB  UK
081-332-5612
 

Résumé

Les Jardins botaniques de Kew, en Grande Bretagne, ont développé un nouveau programme extérieur au Jardin, pour les écoles, impliquant une Unité d'éducation mobile. Le but de cette unité est de rendre l'éducation sur les plante plus accessible aux écoles dans l'impossibilité de visiter Kew et de mettre l'accent sur l'éducation environnementale basée sur le végétal.

L'unité d'exposition longue de 7 mètres a été construite selon les spécifications de Kew. Elle est abritée par une véhicule tout-terrain. Elle possède une zone ouverte, des places d'étude, une vidéo, une télévision, des facilités pour la projection de diapositives, un équipement de laboratoire et une petite bibliothèque. Du matériel provenant de plantes et des végétaux vivants sont aussi emportés.

L'unité est suivie par une enseignante à plein temps, Sharon Hughes. Sharon conduira l'unité mobile dans les écoles à travers toute la Grande Bretagne, ainsi que dans des conférences sur l'éducation et des expositions. L'unité restera généralement une semaine dans un lieu, travaillant avec les écoles locales pendant la journée et formant les enseignants en fin d'après-midi.

L'unité mettra en exergue le travail du Réseau anglais d'éducation dans les jardins botaniques (BGEN). Elle encouragera les écoles à rechercher des ressources pédagogiques dans leur jardin botanique local et les aidera à augmenter la prise de conscience vis-à-vis de problèmes de conservation régionaux.

Un ensemble de matériaux pédagogiques, intitul‚ "Plantes à travers le curriculum", est produit et sera distribu‚ gratuitement à chaque école utilisant l'unité. Cet ensemble de matériaux pour les écoles comprendra des diapositives de toutes les plantes présentées, ainsi que des informations pour les enseignants et des activités. Cet ensemble souhaite promouvoir une enseignement bas‚ sur les plantes et encourage les écoles à utiliser leurs jardins botaniques locaux.

Sharon souhaiterait obtenir des informations d'autres jardins afin de partager des idées et de développer des partenariats.

Resumen

El Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (Reino Unido) ha desarrollado un nuevo programa puertas afuera para los colegios que comprende una Unidad Móvil de Educación. El objetivo de la unidad es que la enseñanza de las plantas sea más asequible a los colegios que no pueden visitar Kew y hacer hincapié sobre el valor de la educacián ambiental basada en las plantas.

La unidad de 7 metros de longuitud ha sido construida con las especificaciones de Kew y es remolcada por un todoterreno. Incluye una zona de plataforma abierta, bancos para los estudiantes, video, televisión, proyectores de diapositivas, laboratorio equipado y una pequeña biblioteca. También lleva material de planta viva y objetos de origen vegetal.

La unidad es dinamizada por una profesora dedicada exclusivamente a esta labor, Sharon Hughes. Ella llevar  la Unidad Móvil a los colegios de toda Inglaterra e impartir  conferencias de educación y exposiciones. La Unidad estará generalmente una semana en cada localidad, trabajando durante el día con los colegios y celebrando cursos de actualización para los profesores por la tarde.

La unidad sacar  a la luz y apoyar  el trabajo de la Red de Educación en los Jardines Botánicos en el Reino Unido. Estimular  a los colegios a investigar los recursos de su jardín botánico local y ayudaró despertar la conciencia sobre las decisiones locales para la conservación.

Se est  produciendo un paquete educativo para los colegios "Las plantas a través del Curriculum" que se dar  gratuitamente a todos los colegios que utilicen la unidad. Dicho paquete incluir  diapositivas de todas las plantas que se presentan así como recursos para el profesor y actividades. Promover  nuevas enseñanzas basadas en la planta y estimular  a los colegios a utilizar su jardín botánico local.

A Sharon le gustaría tener noticias de otros jardines para compartir ideas y asociarse.

 
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