Key to the new approach was the development of resource materials and effective preparation of school teachers in advance of visits to the Garden. With only two full-time staff, the programme was mobilised by developing a team of volunteer ‘education officers’, mostly drawn from people with prior teaching experience and a passion for Kirstenbosch, and who receive intensive training. The first volunteers’ course in 1993 had ‘no curriculum, no materials, no course outlines, but huge amounts of enthusiasm and a desire to learn’.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Trip Cost Photo Gallery
Students visit the ‘Garden of Extinction ’ to learn about species targetedfor restoration projects.
Since 1993, the team of volunteers, now called ‘Assistant Education Officers’ and usually about nine in number, has ensured that Kirstenbosch can offer guided visits to an average of 14 000 school learners per year, plus 6 000 self-guided visitors. The numbers have now reached the optimum level for available facilities, and emphasis can be given to increasing the value for every school child encountering the splendour of Kirstenbosch for the first time.
The spirit of volunteerism is strong, with the Botanical Society having a team of 160 volunteers participating in a wide range of garden activities; they include environmental educators, garden guides, herbarium assistants, library assistants, plant sales organisers and many more.
Springtime is alive, with school children flocking to the Garden to ‘smell the flowers ’. Kirstenbosch is an outdoor classroom of particular splendour and is put to good use by schools throughout the year. Here, the spring flowers make for a colourful backdrop to instruction.
Bringing the community to Kirstenbosch
The Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre serves more than 20 000 learners each year.
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