A representative of the University of Leicester, UK, will be revealing new educational techniques for children when she attends the Botanic Gardens Conservation International Meeting in Thiruvananthapurum, state of Kerala, Southern India, between 3-12 November 1999.
Ms Susan Baughan, Education Officer for SEED (Support for Education in Environment and Development) at the University of Leicester Harold Martin Botanic Garden, will present a workshop on the use of simulation as an educational tool in botanic gardens.
For the past two years the Leicester Botanic Garden has been running educational activities involving children's role play, aimed at developing skills in team-working, decision-making and personal responsibility. The programme has focused on issues relating to environmental sustainability, development and citizenship, and is aimed at secondary school children, aged 13-14 years.
The game sets the scene for a third-world country hosting a major international event, such as the World Cup or the Olympics. The children take on the role of newspaper reporters across the whole spectrum of journalism, to discover and write about the implications for and effects on the host country of staging such an event. They finish by writing their reports.
Staff from the SEED project dress up as local people in the host country, including nature reserve wardens, government officials, peasants and refugees, and the children can discover from them to what extent their lives and environment will be affected, and who will benefit and who will not.
Speaking about the educational activities, Dr Richard Gornall said: "This is one of the most innovative programmes to be conducted in a botanic garden setting; not only do the children enjoy it but it also really gets them thinking."
Note for editors: Further details are available from Dr R J Gornall, tel +44 (0)116 252 3394.
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