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Promoting green thinking from an early age, Source: tallinn.ee

Tallinn’s new infatuation: educational gardens

Tallinn’s new infatuation: educational gardens

By supporting the plant-growing projects, the city wants to increase environmental awareness

Home-growing of edible plants in Estonia’s capital Tallinn is becoming increasingly popular. Proof positive of this trend is the announcement that the Tallinn Environment and Public Utilities Board has received 77 applications from city institutions requesting support for the creation and development of educational gardens.

Promoting green thinking 

According to Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf, by supporting learning gardens the city wants to promote green thinking and increase environmental awareness. "Many urban institutions already have their own study gardens, where they learn about urban nature and the world around them through green horticulture, foster green thinking and environmental awareness, and promote a healthy and active lifestyle," said Klandorf, quoted by tallinn.ee.

Until 15 February 2021, Tallinn city government and municipally-run institutions were able to submit applications for the establishment and development of educational gardens and environmental education activities. Applicants included kindergartens, various types of schools, youth and cultural centres, two museums, a library and orphanage.

Marina Laidla, project manager of urban horticulture, explained that each application has been approached individually, taking into account the needs, interests and spatial peculiarities of the institution. "Thus, some institutions wanted to start building their learning garden more modestly and with a small number of boxes, others opted for a large garden featuring irrigation system, and some wished to add a health and adventure trail that promotes plant knowledge. Summing it up, I can say that the projects have become more comprehensive and the activities in the learning gardens more sustainable," concluded Laidla.

Gardening on video

In cooperation with the institutions, videos have been made of the gardens that received support last year, where the garden founders introduce their concept. For example, in the learning garden of Rõõmutarekes kindergarten, many different food plants are grown, winter sowing is experimented with and composting is consciously practiced. 

Gustav Adolf Gymnasium has built a roof garden with the involvement of IT students and is testing hydroponics and an automated irrigation system. In the Kalamaja Community Museum, following its extensive renovation, fish-shaped beds and exciting fossils form one complete study room, engaging the residents of one of the oldest Tallinn suburbs in horticultural and environmental education activities.

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