Festive opening of the Green School in the Botanic Garden at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Distinction as "school support facility for environmental education in Rhineland-Palatinate"


After a construction time of less than one year, the Green School in the Botanic Garden of Mainz University has been completed since a few weeks - and has now been opened with a big garden party. At the ceremonial opening, Doris Ahnen, Minister of Education, Science, Youth, and Culture in Rhineland-Palatinate, honored the Green School as a "school support facility for environmental education in Rhineland-Palatinate." On its opening day, the Botanic Garden offered, in addition to tours with special topics such as the International Year of Biodiversity 2010, an exciting program with many hands-on activities for the whole family: A garden rally for children, making decorations from bean seeds, experimenting with fiber and dye production plants, making paper out of asparagus peel or helping with the extension of the new insect hotel. The musical program at the opening was arranged by the School of Music on the large stage in the Botanic Garden. This included the 4SSSSaxes saxophone quartet, the Dr. Funkenstein Trio of Peter Klohmann, a flute and a string ensemble.

At the end of the evening, a special musical delight was the opera "The Magic Flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, presented as an open-air performance at the Garden. The soloists, choir, and orchestra of the School of Music were conducted by Professor Wolfram Koloseus; the art director was Katharina Thoma. The project was supported by the German Federal Bank, Mainz main administration. Professor Claudia Eder, Deputy Principal of the School of Music and artistic coordinator of the opera project, was enthusiastic about the joint staging of the "Garden Opera" project: "All participants are excited about presenting Mozart's 'Magic Flute' in front of a large audience and in a really magical environment." Dr. Ralf Omlor, custodian of the Botanic Garden, added: "We are delighted that the opening of the Green School can be celebrated with such a great musical experience." In previous years, the Botanic Garden and the School of Music have already produced other joint events, such as the Musical Night 2007, which proved a great success with the public.

The Green School in the Botanic Garden of Johannes Gutenberg University is a new educational institution that is thus far unique in Germany. Last year, Johannes Gutenberg University, together with a generous private donor, and with the financial support of the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth, and Culture in Rhineland-Palatinate, built a modern training and seminar building in the Botanic Garden that has been used to serve the transfer of knowledge to a wide spectrum of users since the spring of this year.The focus is on a program whose content and didactics are adapted for school education. The practically oriented and interdisciplinary learning opportunity is intended to stimulate the interest of children and adolescents in nature and science from early on, and to generate interest in studying. Teaching students can get some early experience with school classes at the Green School as a result of a cooperation agreement with the teaching methodology in the Faculty of Biology. However, some training courses at the Green School are also aimed at teachers. This extends the interconnectedness of Mainz University with the schools in the region.

An essential concern of the Green School is to raise the awareness for the meaning of the biological variety for our lives. This is an important social challenge, given the problems of climate change and the global biodiversity crisis. It exceeds the core responsibilities of the University and requires committed partners. The demand for the services of the Green School is already very strong, which shows that the commitment was worth it and will have a sustained effect on Mainz and the region. Since the beginning of January 2010, Dr. Ute Becker has been head of the Green School and responsible for the educational activities.