Our Natural Learning Centre programmes have been so successful within the local community we have now appointed an Education Manager to direct and oversee the future development of the scheme. We have waiting lists for all our clubs and our Facebook page has significantly grown in popularity.
Our aim is to take this initiative to the next level by introducing a dedicated Education Zone with a Biodome.
This innovative concept would enable the use of horticultural techniques yet to be applied in Gibraltar.
“The Biodome System is an excellent example of an integrated holistic system. The hydroponics coupled with biodome, is an innovative solution and provides a fantastic education and training resource for students.
The system demonstrates ways of helping to mitigate the impacts of future climate change.”
M Hewitt – The Low Carbon Trust.
WHAT DO WE DO?
The Natural Learning centre was created by the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens in 2013.
It’s aim is to encourage children of all ages to discover the wonders and beauty of the natural world around them and offer opportunities for them to learn about the environment and how best to care for it.
Our gardening clubs operate during the school months. We introduce children to general gardening skills, with a special emphasis on environmental awareness. Over the last three years these clubs have expanded throughout the gardens, several areas have been transformed for the children to experience growing many different varieties of produce.
Further organisations such as the Brownies, and children participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award sheme regularly use our facilities.
We also run Summer Fun events in association with the Gibraltar Sports & Leisure Authority’s Summer Sports Programme.
WHY DO WE NEED A BIODOME?
The current location of the Natural Learning Centre is in the heart of the Botanic Gardens adjacent to the main nurseries. This is not ideal as the nursery is a busy
working environment and in constant use by staff.
With the new Education Zone and Biodome we can re-locate the centre to an area that will significantly reduce the need for interaction within the working zones. In the centre’s new location, clubs and organisations will have use of their own facilities and a separate access point.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
We are working closely with the Department of Education and their initiative to further represent environmental studies into the core curriculum.
The Biodome will be used by the teaching staff as a means of converting theoretical studies from the classroom into a real garden setting.
UNIVERSITY & ADULT EDUCATION
The Biodome will be used to expand our adult education programme. It will provide practical space for local organisations and gardening clubs for ‘hands on’ sessions.
The University of Gibraltar will be able to make use of the Biodomes innovative growing methods and the Education Zone will provide the ideal setting to assist with envoronmental studies.
The proposed site, as highlighted in the map below, was originally the orchard. Although currently in need of some cosmetic attention, the area is the ideal plot for the Biodome.
It is also one of the more secure areas in the garden being entirely surrounded by iron fencing, mature trees and hedges.
The site has ample space to house both the Biodome and an outside area for practical work.
Listed below are the preparation works required on site prior to the Biodome installation. This work will be carried out by the Botanic Gardens where possible.
Foundation work for the Biodome Installation of water point and sink
The area will have its own access point, with a new gate fitted to the rear of the garden that is close to the Theatre’s facilities and away from the working zones.
Thanks to Gamma Architects we now have a much more ambitious and inspiring design for the new Education Zone. Visit Our Vision page to see the architects concept visuals.