Communicating the world of plants
From its establishment in 1670 as a physic garden, education has been at the heart of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Today, that ranges from babies to holiday clubs, apprenticeships to higher degrees.
The Edinburgh Biomes project will transform the way we communicate the world of plants. It will enable us to take a piece of the Garden out into communities in Scotland and create a visitor journey through our Glasshouses that imbues visitors with a sense of the wonder of nature – and hope for the future.
Watch the short film below to hear more about our plans.
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Communicating the world of plants
- Read video transcript
Video Transcript Time Description [Suzanne Hermiston, Head of Education] So we have a very diverse range of opportunities at the Botanics. So we start with babies, trying to engage them as early as possible and move through primary, secondary school, and then enter undergraduate programs, postgraduate programs, and we also have a range of specialists certificates and diplomas, as well as a large suite of online programs. The Biomes has given us a great opportunity to kinda reimagine the whole of education at the Botanics, and we're really able to kinda start with a blank page and look at the different ways that we can engage audiences and make it a much more diverse offer for many more people. We'll have much more space in terms of the actual learning spaces that we have. We'll also have new exciting holiday programs, an early years program, and we'll increase our apprenticeship opportunities, both foundation apprenticeships and modern apprentices. We've recently received National Lottery Heritage Funding which will enable us to recruit a dedicated outreach officer which will enable us to go out into the community and into schools, taking a piece of the garden out into Scotland. [Max Coleman, Science Communicator] Visitor engagement is very important because at the moment we face such big challenges, climate change and the loss of species and habitats, and this can be all quite overwhelming and quite sort of alarming for people. The Biomes Project will transform the way in which we can communicate the world of plants to our visitors. Visitors will go on a journey and that will consist of three stages. The first stage will be introducing the diversity of plants and hopefully engaging visitors in a sense of wonder about this diversity. Then they will move on to a stage where human beings come into the story and the interaction between plants, how important plants are for our survival becomes really key to that stage and also the issues that plants face that are very much created by ourselves and our actions. So the threats to plants will become part of the story. And then finally, the finishing stage will be around the issue of the future, hopefully showing that plants are part of the solution. We want visitors to take away a sense of hope so that they can see that there are things that they can do as individuals and we can also show them examples from around the world of things that are being done that are addressing the big challenges that we face.