Sharing knowledge

© Der Knopfdrücker

© Der Knopfdrücker

© BGUW_R. Hromniak

Das Botanicum © BGUW_R. Hromniak

The Botanical Garden is home to more than 11,500 different plant species, providing researchers from all fields of biology an excellent opportunity to study plant life. Beyond conducting research, the Botanical Garden’s mission includes disseminating scientific knowledge. This is done in the framework of various courses for students at the University of Vienna, supplemented by guided tours, seminars, exhibitions and other events for our visitors.

The "Green School" (Grüne Schule)

The "Green School" at the Botanical Garden, founded more than 25 years ago by Michael Kiehn, plays an important role in our knowledge-sharing task. It is tailored to school classes, kindergartens and private groups, who can take advantage of our wide selection of seasonally changing guided tours and workshop topics in the fields of botany and biology. 

Beyond conducting guided tours and workshops, the Green School is devoted to training future biology teachers. Green School guides are largely recruited from students enrolled in the teacher training curriculum in biology. During the course of their work here they learn practical skills that supplement the theoretical knowledge gained at the university. This gives them hands-on experience in dealing with school classes when they assume their later duties as biology teachers.

Imparting knowledge the best way

Another focus, in cooperation with colleagues from the Österreichisches Kompetenzzentrum für Didaktik der Biologie (Austrian Educational Competence Centre Biology – AECC), is examining how biological knowledge can be presented didactically so that it is readily accessible to and understandable by children and youngsters. Every person has preconceptions, and these can play an important role by either complicating or, with luck, even simplifying our grasp of scientific concepts. Conveying botanical knowledge also often faces the hurdle that many people have a "blind eye" for plants. This is because, as opposed to animals, plants don’t tend to exhibit conspicuous behaviors. This calls for highlighting the many facets of plants and emphasizing their importance for humanity.

The "Botanicum"

Since 2019, the Green School is housed in a winterproof pavilion – the Botanicum. It is ideally suited for various educational activities. The building covers a surface area of 110 m² and includes a classroom and a preparation room. Children and youngsters can use this space to work with microscopes, dissect and propagate plants, conduct experiments and discuss the work among themselves. The Botanicum also hosts study programs, courses and discussion rounds.

The Website of the Green School lists a wide range of guided tours and workshops that you can book online.