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Mentoring for the RHS Green Plan It Challenge

20th October 2017

Dave Hine, senior landscape architect at Thomson Ecology, is taking part in the RHS Green Plan It Challenge, which is a scheme designed to get young people interested in horticulture and to potentially consider a career in it or a related industry.

Dave tells us about his involvement in the scheme so far.

Three weeks ago, I, along with a series of other mentors from a range of horticultural and environmental professions, was allocated a school group to help with their ideas and designs for plots of land within or around their school. I got the brilliant team at Bishop Douglass School in Finchley, north London. So far we’ve had an inspirational visit to Capel Manor Lodge to spark some ideas, and have done a survey and analysis of the school to try and find the ideal site to develop. In just seven weeks the school will present their ideas, a report and a model to a panel of judges, and the overall and category winners will be announced.

In the short time we’ve been working together I’ve seen how creative and passionate young people can be, on a subject many would dismiss as “just for old people”. But they understand far more than I did at their age about the importance and value of the natural environment and its impact on all aspects of their lives. It’s exciting and hopeful to listen to them talk about topics ranging from climate change to food growing, mental health and wellbeing to socialising and play, all within a landscape context.

There’s also the connections that they and their teachers are making to all parts of the syllabus, and not just the more obvious areas such as biology and geography, but art, drama, history, psychology, physical education, maths, literature, languages, computer design technology and religious studies. With so many links and themes that can be tied back to “gardening” in all its guises, I hope that this project and others like it will contribute to the wider discussions about education and the role that closer interaction with the natural environment can play in a holistic, forward thinking education strategy.

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