An educational greenspace initiative that plans to bring unique green spaces to Scottish schools has been rewarded £5,000 of funding from the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Ideas Fund 2016 to help bring it to life.
Edinburgh-based urban greening enthusiast and research scientist Lynette Robertson (38) scooped the top prize for an innovative ‘Edible vertical gardens’ project that will create an outdoor green wall for pupils to enjoy and learn about plants.
The idea was selected by delegates at the annual CSGN Forum from a shortlist of three, which also included the socially driven community and environmental regeneration Glasgow Green Engines scheme by Hugh Kippen and the creative writing GreenWords initiative by the Scottish Writers’ Centre.
The winning project aims to bring renowned Catalan landscape artist and designer, Marc Grañén and his ‘Edible vertical gardens’ to urban schools in Scotland, starting with a school in a disadvantaged community in the central belt.
Marc has installed a number of vertical gardens at schools around Barcelona, providing children who have limited access to nature in their home environment with the opportunity to connect with, and learn from, nature.
The vertical design of the gardens enables growing where space is limited and provides an outdoor living 'laboratory' where pupils can learn science, maths and practice art, whilst also learning about food. Proving popular with children and teachers, the walls have also created quality habitat for birds, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates, and contribute to climate adaptation through urban cooling.
A long-standing member of the Scottish Green Infrastructure Forum, Lynette is dedicated to improving the quality of urban environments through increasing installation of vegetative infrastructure such as green roofs and walls. Hailing from the Northern Isles of Shetland, she spent much of her childhood outdoors and developed a keen interest in nature and the environment from a young age, and inherited a love of plants from her parents who are keen gardeners and vegetable growers.
After leaving school Lynette studied Geography at Aberdeen University, followed by a Masters and PhD in Geosciences at Edinburgh University. She currently works as both a research scientist at the Glasgow School of Art, within the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit, and independently as an urban greening consultant.
With the funding support from the CSGN Ideas Fund, Lynette will be able to continue developing the ‘Edible vertical gardens’ project with the aim of installing the first green walls in a Scottish school in spring 2017.
Commenting on the win, Lynette said: “Marc Grañén’s ‘Edible vertical gardens’ are an exciting way to bring more nature into school environments, and this funding will take us one step closer to bringing it to central Scotland.
“It’s essential that we inspire environmental stewardship in future generations to help solve the ecological crisis we’re facing, and one of the key ways that we can do this is through environmental education. Research has shown that nature-based education has a positive effect on students’ learning, development and behaviour and this project also brings in beneficial messages around healthy eating.”
Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, said: “As Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, we aim to support organisations in delivering the green network on the ground and this year’s Ideas Fund was about backing a creative project to mark Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
“Lynette’s vision to bring Marc Grañén’s ‘Edible vertical gardens’ concept to Scotland is excellent and will help to create an awareness amongst pupils of the importance of protecting the environment from a young age, and it will also help to improve the quality of life for the local area.”
Now in its fourth year, the CSGN Ideas Fund 2016 invited innovative concepts and projects across central Scotland to enter a competition to win up to £5,000 funding. The Fund supports the development of pioneering and green infrastructure projects and to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, applicants to this year’s Fund had to have a creative professional involved.
As one of the Scottish Government’s national developments for Scotland in the third National Planning Framework, CSGN is changing the face of Central Scotland, by restoring, transforming and greening the landscape of an area stretching from Ayrshire and Inverclyde in the west, to Fife and the Lothians in the east.