New, free online course can help cities become greener
As the importance of green spaces to human health becomes ever more apparent, a new free course launched today (Thursday, August 18) by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and the University of Leeds shows how nature-based solutions can enhance the lives of those living in urban environments.
With an incredible 84 per cent of the UK’s population now living in towns and cities, finding sustainable ways to improve our urban spaces has never been more important. The short online course ‘Botany for the built environment’ looks at the value and function of urban plants and explores ways in which we can effectively use green infrastructure such as rain gardens and green roofs to support both people and wildlife in our cities.
The course was developed by Sebastian Stroud, post-graduate researcher at the University of Leeds who said: “Plants have a really important role to play in supporting wellness in urban environments and, through this course, participants will become more familiar with the range of plants that already exist in our towns – from the tiniest fern on an urban rooftop to the lichen on our pavements.
“Through regular surveys, researchers will monitor how participants’ understanding and attitudes change throughout the course. This in turn will provide us with invaluable data, possibly helping to inform the design and creation of greener cities in the future.”
The five-hour course is open to all and no existing knowledge or qualification is required. It will be of particular interest to final year school students as well as undergraduate students of landscape architecture, engineering and civil engineering, students of the built environment, ecology, biology and conservation. The course will focus on Europe, but with examples from further afield.
Jane Robertson, Learning Technology Manager at RBGE added: “We believe it is important to work with the University of Leeds on this exciting new online project. We are supporting Sebastian to develop this online course which has united his expertise in urban plant diversity with RBGE’s online learning experience.
“The course aims to help answer the question about how we can improve urban areas for both people and wildlife. The research considers how effective online learning is in this subject area and we will be really interested in the results.”
The course is completely free to join and participants can learn at their own pace. It is available on the RBGE Propagate portal or if you do not already have a login, you can sign up directly here. The content will include reading, videos, knowledge checks, activities and tutor and student led discussion, leading to a Certificate of Participation. You must be 16 or over to sign up for a PropaGate account and this will allow you to participate in the course. To participate in the research project you need to be over 18 years old.
For further information, interviews or images, please respond to this email or contact Shauna Hay on 07824 529 028 or Sandra Donnelly on 07312 128 637
Sebastian Stroud is a post-graduate researcher based in the School of Biology at the University of Leeds. His research interests include urban ecology, human plant interactions, the use of plants for the mitigation of the impacts of urbanisation and the development of sustainable and equitable cities. Sebastian is currently studying for a PhD in Urban Ecology.
PropaGate Learning is a space for Learning Online with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). RBGE is a RHS distance learning approved provider. Other online courses include the RBGE Certificate and Diploma in Botanical Illustration, RBGE Diploma in Herbology and RBGE Diploma in Garden History. certificates and short courses are also available online.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a leading international research organisation delivering knowledge, education, and plant conservation action around the world. In Scotland, its four Gardens at Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan attract more than a million visitors each year. It operates as a Non Departmental Public Body established under the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985, principally funded by the Scottish Government. It is also a registered charity, managed by a Board of Trustees appointed by Ministers. Its mission is “To explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future.”
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