Vienna. On October 10th the Botanicum was opened in the Botanical Garden in the presence of the sponsors and numerous guests of honor. The pavilion of the Green School can be used by school classes and represents a new dimension of knowledge transfer. This infrastructure, which can be used all year round, enables research and experimental learning, such as microscopy, herbarization and botanical gardening. Prochaska I TORO supports the Botanicum with an irrigation system.
“Good things take time”, says Michael Kiehn, Director of the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna, referring to the initial ideas for this pavilion from 2003, but it was only the anniversary year of the University of Vienna in 2015 that provided the necessary impetus for its implementation through successful cooperation with the main sponsor Raiffeisen Lower Austria-Vienna. Numerous other sponsors also contributed to the realization of the Botanicum: Wiener Städtische Versicherung, which has contributed a considerable sum to the program development of the Green School, Nikon, which provides microscopes for the projects in the Botanicum, Prochaska/Toro, which provides an irrigation system for the outdoor facilities, Berger, which provides the appropriate cistern for the sustainable use of rainwater, and the gardening specialist Praskac, which provides initial planting.
Regina Hitzenberger, Vice Rector of the University of Vienna, thanks the sponsors and emphasizes how important it is to get to know scientific methods, also to distinguish between facts and “fakes” in our time. “A new form of knowledge transfer is taking place in the Green School. The young people gain an insight into how science and research works, how hypotheses are formed, data is collected and evaluated and finally how facts are used to provide evidence,” says Hitzenberger.
“The support of the Botanical Garden is also a visible sign of the social and regional commitment of Raiffeisen Lower Austria-Vienna”, explains Veronika Haslinger, Managing Director of Raiffeisen Holding Lower Austria-Vienna and main sponsor of the Botanicum, and continues, “the current demands of young people and how they think about changes in climate and nature have greatly changed the public focus on the environment and sustainability as a whole. This makes initiatives like the newly opened Botanicum all the more important. Awareness raising and lively knowledge transfer go hand in hand here and thus make a valuable ecological contribution”.
Eva Millesi, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, follows these thoughts: “Children are curious by nature and therefore not unlike researchers. To ensure that they don’t lose the joy of the unknown – away from the stress of learning and the pressure of grades – institutions such as the Green School or the recently opened Teach-Learn-Lab for Biology Didactics at the University of Vienna are incredibly important. The children and young people will bring their enthusiasm for asking questions and learning about research methods to their families, to their circles of friends, etc. Then the Botanicum will have achieved its goal, namely to be a place of lively debate, a place of encounter between research, education and society”.
Text: Mag. Ursula Gerber, Universität Wien
Pictures: © Klaus Ranger, Universität Wien
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