"CSI Pheno Biota" - climate change research in schools (2023)

Experiencing climate change

Climate change and its consequences are more topical than ever. In order to make this urgent task more tangible for the children of the Purkersdorf Nature Park School ASO and partner primary schools, in addition to the public discussion at municipal level, climate demonstrations by young people in major cities and numerous global media reports at local level, we have encouraged pupils to research the climate and given them a more differentiated view of valuable microclimatic locations right on their doorstep.

Through this project, we have offered children and young people from our local partner elemtary schools ASO and Volksschule (VS) an opportunity to experience the effects of climate (heat, drought) on nature in front of their school.

Together with the nature park, the pupils collected ideas for implementation, and selected 3 locations for the experiment: in the immediate vicinity of the schools one raised planting bed and a neglected meadow directly in front of the school building; plsu another raised bed another on the Kellerwiese. They "cleared" the meadow area in front of the school of possible neophytes and planted native hedge plants (black elder, currant, dogwood or dog rose, etc.). Selected plant seeds and suitable herbs were planted in the raised beds.

Our aim was for the children to recognise the importance of observing (researching) climate parameters. With the perennial plants on the observation plots, they can also observe and research changes in subsequent years.

The children have learnt how a meadow area must be prepared and maintained so that native plants can grow and thrive and no undesirable plants can spread); by working outdoors, all of the project participants' senses were stimulated. At the end of the project, they learnt to distinguish the difference between plants growing directly on the ground and plants growing in a raised bed (wooden trough). The children worked independently outdoors during the lessons, supported by the participating teachers and the nature park team.

As a visible symbol of the climate research project, we purchased two project flags and mounted them on the existing flagpoles in front of the nature park schools.

The project was funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)