Plant collections are a major resource for education about plants, their importance in every aspect of our lives and of other animals, and in the maintenance of the biological environment. From a respect for plant life comes recognition of the need for the sustainable use of the world’s biological resources. Collections can be used for education throughout life, from pre-school activities to learning in retirement; and in formal and informal teaching linked to schools, colleges and universities and through outreach into the community.
In addition to plant biology and related environmental sciences, and the art and science of horticulture, a range of subjects in the school curriculum can be taught using plants. Gardens can be especially suited to imaginative cross-curricular work, thus linking the arts, design and languages with science, but teachers usually need assistance with the use of a garden in this way. Plant collections have a major role to play in inspiring the next generation of horticulturists, field botanists and conservationists.
Collections are well suited for the promotion of life-long learning through talks, demonstrations, courses and guided tours, as well as through exhibitions, self-guided trails and audio-visual presentations. Issues that can be explored may include the public understanding of science, plant conservation and sustainability. Gardens should seek to employ qualified education staff wherever possible and encourage the development of communication skills among all members of staff.
PlantNetwork aims to promote and increase the use of plant collections for education and inspire an interest in plants in people of all ages.
- held a conference, in conjunction with BGEN, titled From 4 to 94: New Audiences for a New Century at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, in April 2001.
- held a Plant Records Group meeting on The Information Trail. How do you collect good data? At Westonbirt Arboretum in November 2002
To maintain these achievements, PlantNetwork will:
The following policies are also relevant in delivering the Education policy: