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Teacher's Training Course East Java 2003

A second training course for Indonesian teachers under the Investing in Nature Programme was held at the Purwodadi Botanic Gardens in East Java, Indonesia. Investing in Nature-Indonesia is a collaboration between BGCI, HSBC (Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation), and the Indonesian Botanic Gardens.

Thirty biology teachers, ranging from local primary through senior high schools, participated in the course from August 21 – 23, 2003. Additional attendees included ten staff from the gardens, seven university students, and two officials from the Ministry of Education (Pasuruan Regency), bringing the total attendees to 48.

The main purpose of the course was to familiarize teachers with the Botanic Gardens, including suggestions on how to use it as an outdoor classroom for their students. Speakers from local universities, NGOs, and staff from within the botanic gardens system gave presentations ranging from the basic functions and roles of botanic gardens to environmental ethics. More than half the time was spent outdoors, learning ways to connect students to the environment through games and art. A highlight of the course was a garden tour where participants explored the significant collections and features of the gardens such as the orchid houses, palm, succulent and medicinal plant collections, as well as a 20-year old reforested area.

The teachers spent most of the final day discussing three topics:

  1. How can we complement and dovetail our school curriculum with environmental education at the Botanic Gardens?
  2. Design model environmental education programmes for schools students making use of the opportunities and facilities that exist at the Botanic Gardens
  3. What is the ideal structure and format for a collaboration between schools, the Botanic Gardens, NGOs, industry, local government, local community leaders, and universities for the development of environmental education programmes?

The main points to come out of the discussion were:

  • Teacher training in environmental issues should target not only biology teachers, but teachers in other fields such as social sciences, art, history, economics, etc., so as to provide a more holistic approach to designing education programmes. Such programmes would show how the environment includes all these different disciplines.   
  • Dialogue needs to be opened between schools, government, NGOs, industry, community leaders, and universities so as to improve communications and achieve synergies between these stakeholders.


  • Outreach to schools was deemed to be an important activity, so that a wider audience outside the botanic gardens can be reached, especially schools too far away to visit the gardens.

The results of these discussions will be used to design future education programmes at the Botanic Gardens that will include tour and activity modules, further training & exposure for teachers, and a children’s club, which will be funded by the Investing in Nature programme. Enthusiasm from the participants was very high, and a good relationship between teachers and Gardens staff has been established, paving the way for increased collaboration between schools and the Gardens for environmental education.