The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is delivering stimulating education programmes across Scotland thanks to the incredible support of players. Schoolchildren in Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway, and the Scottish Borders are enjoying quality bespoke education days focused on engaging with nature.
This week at Benmore Botanic Garden, near Dunoon, local primary pupils will engage with the amazing world of the fern, newt, starling, and other living things through outdoor adventures and indoor arts.
The week's activities will be based around The Lost Words, the acclaimed book by artist Jackie Morris and writer Robert Macfarlane. Its paintings and spell poems are the pair's response to discovering 20 words from nature had been dropped from children's dictionaries. Words such as raven, bluebell, and adder were being replaced by Pokémon and other gaming characters.
So inspired by the book was bus driver Jane Beaton, she crowdfunded to buy a copy for every school in Scotland. This model is now being picked up by other members of the public around England and Wales.
Each day, two school classes from the Dunoon area will go along to Benmore, one of RBGE's three Regional Gardens. While one class is out in the 120-acre mountainside Garden during the morning, the other will be immersed in arts activities in the Courtyard Gallery. After lunch, they will swap activities. In addition, the Education team will run a twilight Teacher Continuing Professional Development course.
Benmore Schools Week is provided free-of-charge for the local community by RBGE's Education Department thanks to funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery. Similar events are funded at Logan Botanic Garden in Dumfries & Galloway, and Dawyck Botanic Garden in the Scottish Borders.
Explaining the importance of Schools Week to the organisation, Benmore Curator Peter Baxter commented, "In addition to our research and conservation work, a key remit of RBGE is to inspire public engagement with the environment. We are delighted to be offering a very special five day programme based on The Lost Words. It is thanks to funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery we can share RBGE's world-class education offering with school pupils from around all three of our Regional Gardens."