School partnership programs generate opportunities for long term, ongoing learning experiences for schools.
Participating students and teachers are able to understand more fully the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria by developing ongoing relationships with staff and volunteers, using real tools, experiencing real world environmental challenges and finding real solutions.
Partnerships requre a creative input which demands time and resources that cannot be fairly provided for the large numbers of schools that the Gardens work with. To balance these demands partnership outcomes are negotiated between schools and Gardens staff. Partnerships are of a fixed term however they may be continued for extended periods at a reduced level of commitment. The different nature and resources of the Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens are also generally reflected in the nature of partnership developed.
Applications for school partnership opportunities are now open for 2019!
A partnership project, as distinct from a one-off excursion or incursion (a visit to a school) is an opportunity for the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and a school community to work closely together over a reasonable period of time on a focused outcome-driven project. Partnerships such as this afford the opportunity for the Gardens to share our expertise in plants, horticulture, plant science, play and nature based learning with the extended school community, students, teachers and parents. It provides an opportunity for the Gardens to learn more about how students, teachers and parents engage with the natural world, exploring the wonders of plants, inspiring curiosity, connection to country and community. Partnerships are developed in collaboration between school communities and the Gardens, and are tailored to the schools individual needs.
The Gardens’ objectives are to partner with schools:
The Cherry Ballart (our native cherry tree) is chosen to represent this project, as when the Cherry Ballart is young it cannot grow on its own - it needs the support of others to grow and flourish. A young Cherry Ballart will hang on until independence, and as adults they let go. The Cherry Ballart symbolises the RBG’s relationship with students and their schools, by the support that the RBG provides.
We wish to acknowledge the generous contributions by our donors who have made opportunities to participate in the Cherry Ballart Program possible.
There is no charge for participation in school partnership programs.
Visits are made up of weekly or fortnightly two-hour sessions during the term in which your partnership program is running. Programs are catered to individual school needs. To apply to participate in these programs, please submit an application addressing the following criteria:
‘Vermont South Special School [VSSS] is a State run school attended by children with mild intellectual disabilities. Our partnership with the Children's Garden program is a very valuable part of our schools' program providing a rich experience for the students and exchange of ideas and support for the teachers.
Benefits for our students include learning through hands-on experiences, building of confidence, provide and self-esteem, development of life-long skills both recreational and vocational, social skills in dealing with members of the community, and the opportunity to experience a rich garden environment.
For teachers the partnership has provided valuable enrichment and support for VELS Domains as well as the opportunity to develop our own Kitchen Garden and become a wastewise school with everyone involved in composting and recycling.'
Jan Brown, Science Teacher, VSSS
Bush Kinder is a rapidly growing learning model in Early Childhood settings. Its philosophy is child centred discovery learning where children interact with each other and nature in outdoor “bush” settings. Currently 5 groups from Cranbourne Day Care and Kindergarten are using the Cranbourne Gardens site for kindergarten sessions.
The day to day running of sessions is the responsibility of the regular kindergarten teachers but Gardens staff liaise, assist with establishing processes and induct students to the site. The Gardens also run professional development in Nature Play at both Melbourne and Cranbourne.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria's Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens document at least one of the partnerships operating each semester. The structure we use for documenting this partnership is in a Learning Story format arrived at through collaboration within the Strategic Partnerships Program.
These Learning Stories have been written up with the assistance of the participating school teachers and students and they inform the structure of each of the partnerships. The structure of the reports helps us ensure that tangible and measurable outcomes flow from the collaborative work that is each of the partnerships we enter into.
This collection of Learning Stories represents some of the partnerships we have entered into and will hopefully provide some idea of the scope that we are prepared to address. It is not a complete collection of partnerships that have operated and it does not define the scope we are prepared to embrace. Hopefully schools considering partnerships will be inspired by these stories and those featured will feel proud of their achievements.
Victoria's flora and fungi are under increasing threat from climate change, environmental weeds, agriculture, forest clearance and urbanisation. Climate change will especially impact on plants restricted to the coldest environments on mountain summits, which are likely to lose their only suitable habitat. At Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, studies of taxonomy, distribution, population genetics, propagation, translocation and seed banking all contribute to the conservation of Victoria’s and Australia's plants and fungi.
We collect millions of high-quality seeds from native plant species within Victoria for long-term storage, research and restoration programs.
Our scientists work to maintain biological diversity, including genetic variation, essential for functional ecosystems and the long-term viability of species.
Our research helps to identify, document and combat environmental weeds that pose a threat to native ecosystems and biodiversity.
Botanic gardens throughout the world play a significant role in helping scientists and the public understand the evolution and history of plants, their present day uses as well as what the future may hold for plants in natural environments. Across our two locations at Melbourne and Cranbourne, our experienced horticulture teams manage 45 plant collections as well as a significant area of precious bushland at Cranbourne Gardens. All of our collections feature plant labels which show each plant's scientific name comprised of a genus and species.
Our horticultural and environmental research is focused on responding to future challenges such as water availability and changing climatic conditions and looking at how these may impact on plant and landscape conservation within the gardens.
At both Cranbourne and Melbourne our land management teams focus on irrigation management, finding alternate water sources, water quality and biodiversity of the lakes system; reducing weeds, protecting plants against pests and diseases and managing soils.
We are constantly striving to improve irrigation efficiency, stormwater treatment, lake ecosystems and water quality in the lake system. Recently the Working Wetlands project was completed at Melbourne Gardens, reducing reliance on potable water by 40%.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria has a special place in the hearts and minds of all Victorians. The Gardens has played an important role in the cultural development of Melbourne and can continue to flourish with the help of passionate individuals. There are many ways to get involved with the Gardens and we value any level of support, whether you are a friend or a donor, a member of our Director’s Circle or one of our volunteers. There are also ways to honour those you love by dedicating a tree or a bench within the Garden of your choice.
The Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens play an active role in raising funds for the gardens through plant sales and programs.
It’s easy to help the Gardens. Any donation over $2 is tax deductible and every dollar helps contributes to the work of the Gardens.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Melbourne and Cranbourne offers a rich learning environment for students of all ages and abilities. Our Education Services team develops adaptive, strategic curriculum based programs to assist teachers and provide an enjoyable and valuable learning experience for students from kindergarten to university. Each education program is designed to support teachers in achieving the Victorian Essential Learning Standards and is delivered by a qualified teacher.
We have just released an exciting new range of programs that encourages students from kindergarten to tertiary to explore the wonders of plants in a highly interactive environment.
Contact our education office to book an immersive experience for your students that will lead to the development of life-long, life-wide skills.
Each year we host an engaging Professional Development program for educators, featuring some of the world’s leading experts in nature-based education.