AN INNOVATIVE research scientist who enhances the health and wellbeing of people by building living walls is taking her work to schoolchildren.
Lynette Robertson will undertake an educational initiative to bring unique green spaces to schools for pupils to enjoy and learn about plants and healthy living and eating.
The 38-year-old, of Edinburgh, has just been awarded £5000 of funding from the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Ideas Fund 2016 to help bring her project to life.
She will use the funding to grow vertical gardens, a project inspired by the work of Catalan landscape artist and designer Marc Grañén’s, whose edible vertical gardens have been installed in 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.
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.
She told how 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.
Lynette said: “Marc Grañén’s edible vertical gardens are an exciting way to bring more nature into school environments and this funding will help us bring it to 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.”
Lynette, who gained a Masters and PhD in Geosciences at Edinburgh University, said 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.
Keith Geddes, Chair of CSGN Trust, said: “Lynette’s vision to bring the edible vertical gardens concept to Scotland 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.”