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“Green” schools wanted

Plant Biologists at the University of St Andrews are looking for environmentally minded schools to take part in a new Schools Liaison Project at St Andrews Botanic Garden.

As part of the BBSRC’s (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) School Liaison scheme, Dr Alyson Tobin and Professor Thomas Meagher at the University’s School of Biology have joined forces with Fife Council and the Friends of the Botanic Garden, St Andrews. The group is looking for schools in Fife to take part in the new programme, which aims to cover environmental and biological aspects of the Primary and Secondary curriculum.

“A knowledge of plant biology underpins so many of the scientific issues of concern to society, such as rainforest conservation, sustainable agriculture, GM crops and biodiversity¿, said Dr Alyson Tobin, Co-ordinator of the scheme, and the BBSRC’s School Liaison Officer for the St Andrews area.

“The St Andrews Botanic Garden is a valuable local resource, providing opportunities for educating children and adults alike. We are able to provide educational visits tailored to suit the curricular needs of individual groups, using guides with teaching experience from Primary through to Graduate level,” she continued.

The new schools education programme is aimed at both primary and secondary schools, and will include tours of the Botanic Garden, including the rainforest and desert collections, environmental studies, hands-on experiments and pond dipping.

Thanks to funding from St Andrews Rotary Club, Fife Council, the Royal & Ancient and the BBSRC, a separate glasshouse is being adapted to enable a visitor centre to be established for the programme. In addition, the University of St Andrews has provided furniture, and a small laboratory will be set up.

The new programme builds on efforts initiated by Dr. Edith Cormack (Chair, Friends of the St Andrews Botanic Garden) and Professor Thomas Meagher (Professor of Plant Biology, University of St Andrews), and benefits from the enthusiastic support of the Friends of the Botanic Garden, a voluntary charitable organisation with 1200 members, which supports the work of the Garden.

Interested Schools should contact Dr Alyson Tobin at the University of St Andrews for further information on Tel: 01334 463375, email at6@st-andrews.ac.uk.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

St Andrews Botanic Garden (http://www. st-andrews- botanic.org/) was first established in 1889 and moved to its present position on Canongate in 1960. In 1987, the University leased the Garden to North East Fife Council (now Fife Council) which presently manages the 18 acre site. Outside features include rock, peat and water gardens, plant family beds and a range of trees, shrubs and herbaceous borders. The glasshouses contain an impressive array of plants, with collections ranging from desert, through to tropical rainforests, temperate and alpine plants.

Since its establishment in its present location, the Gardens have supplied over one million specimens from the collection of 8,000 or so species, for research and teaching purposes. In addition to the Schools link, the St Andrews Junior Hortus, for 5 to 12 year olds, is based in the Botanic Garden and meets monthly on Saturday mornings.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: botanic liaison project pr 260302 View the latest University news at http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk/extrel/press.htm

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