’Making Science Tangible’

Inauguration of the ’Green Learning Workshop’ - at the University of
Inauguration of the ’Green Learning Workshop’ - at the University of Bonn (from left): Rector Dr. h. c. Michael Hoch, Lisabeth Hoff from the Learning Workshop, Rainer Hüttemann, Chairman of the University Foundation, and Maximilian Weigend, Director of the Botanical Gardens. © Photo: Barbara Frommann/University of Bonn .

Green Learning Workshop opened in the Botanic Gardens

The Green Learning Workshop opened its doors in the University of Bonn’s Botanic Gardens. It is set to run age-appropriate programs that will enable children to discover the diversity of plant life in a fun way and embark on their own research projects. The learning workshop will be open all year round, come rain or shine, and will complement the activities of the Green School. Its premises were renovated and fitted out thanks to funding from the University of Bonn Foundation, the University of Bonn and numerous other supporters.

The association Freundeskreis Botanische Gärten der Universität Bonn e. V. has been running the Green School with great success for many years. Through the guided tours that it organizes round the garden at Poppelsdorf Palace, the Garden of Useful Plants and the Melb Garden, it helps to introduce people from the region to the diversity of plant life on their doorstep. Setting up a Green Learning Workshop will now open these opportunities up to the gardens’ younger visitors in particular. For example, school classes and kindergartens will be able to enjoy a variety of hands-on and in-depth activities in the classrooms and discover plant diversity for themselves in their own projects.

"We make no secret of our strategy for getting young people enthusiastic about science and our University as early as possible, not least so we can spot bright minds and support them as best possible," explains Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn. "We’ve had some successful programs and formats running in this area for many years now with the FFF early studies program and the Youth University, to which we’re now adding a further highlight in the shape of the Green Learning Workshop. My heartfelt thanks go to the University of Bonn Foundation and the Evonik Foundation for making this project possible."

Rainer Hüttemann, Chair of the University of Bonn Foundation, stressed the importance of the project for his foundation: "We celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2019 and chose to mark the occasion by setting a new funding priority. Choosing to provide financial support to the learning workshop as our anniversary project is particularly important to me because it’s the first time we’ve funded a project that benefits schoolchildren." The initiative will open the door to a scientific education right from an early age, he says. "I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring so many other backers on board."

A very large part of the funds for fitting out the Green Learning Workshop came from the Evonik Foundation, whose Managing Director, Dr. Heike Bergandt, had this to say in praise of the concept: "The Green Learning Workshop meets all the criteria for receiving funding from us, because our foundation is focused on promoting young talent in the STEM subjects. After all, a good education is the key to innovation, sustainability and advances in technology. And getting children excited about the range of subjects is also part of this."

"With over 170,000 visitors a year, the Botanic Gardens offer a unique way to showcase the University to the people of the city and the region," says Prof. Maximilian Weigend, Director of the Botanic Gardens. "The learning workshop is a fantastic opportunity to introduce young people to biology. It makes science tangible for children and young people and allows them to experience the world of biodiversity with all their senses. I’m delighted that the new premises are enabling the Green School to significantly expand its work. The Botanic Gardens and their Green School are making a vital contribution to the University of Bonn’s objective of communicating science and sharing it with society."

The hope is that children and young people will be able to use the Green Learning Workshop to conduct their own investigations, build models and present and discuss the results of their work in groups that are kept as small as possible. This will enable them to gain insights and gather their own experience of how scientific findings are made at an early age. Qualified teachers will be on hand to help with specialist literature that is appropriate to the target group as well as real-life equipment such as microscopes and binoculars. The Green School’s learning workshop thus intends to do its bit for early-stage scientific education and enrich Bonn’s educational landscape with the addition of a new extra-curricular place for learning. Funding from the University of Bonn Foundation, the University of Bonn and numerous other supporters covered the cost of learning materials, fitting out the workshop to professional standards and the major renovation of the rooms, including making them accessible.

You can find more details of the University of Bonn Foundation’s anniversary project here: