Nominations open in search for RHS school gardening heroes 2020

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is calling on schools and youth groups to nominate their green-fingered heroes for RHS School Gardeners of the Year 2020.

Now in its ninth year, the competition champions the many benefits of school gardening, shining a light on the nation’s most dedicated young gardeners and the inspiring adults who teach them; from keen vegetable growers helping to stock the school canteen to those using their garden to fight climate change and attract wildlife.

Schools and groups can nominate their star gardeners across three competition categories:

• RHS Young School Gardener of the Year: For pupils aged 5-16 who demonstrate a true passion for gardening, show invaluable gardening skills and have made an outstanding contribution to their school or local community.

• RHS School Gardening Team of the Year: Recognises an outstanding gardening team that has made a difference to their school environment or local community.

• RHS School Gardening Champion of the Year: Celebrates teachers, leaders and volunteers who have inspired a passion for gardening and have used the outdoors to help bring the curriculum alive.

Nominations are open until 5pm on Friday 20 March at schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/sgoty. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to produce a short video in support of their entry. The winners will be announced in June.

A host of top prizes are up for grabs with a Hartley Botanic greenhouse worth up to £10,000 to be awarded to the winning team and patio glasshouses for the Young School Gardener and Champion winners’ school or group. Other prizes include a visit from competition judge, Gardeners’ World’s Frances Tophill, gardening gift vouchers and tools.

The annual search forms part of the charity’s RHS Campaign for School Gardening which calls for every child to be given the chance to garden and provides free resources and advice to schools and groups across the UK.

Alana Cama, RHS Schools and Groups Programme Manager said: “School Gardeners of the Year celebrates all that’s great about school gardening, from bringing the curriculum to life to boosting wellbeing and helping young people reconnect with nature. We’re also increasingly seeing schools using their gardens to teach young people about sustainability issues and climate change, with access to green spaces shown to encourage more environmentally-friendly behaviours. I would urge all schools and groups who know a gardening hero to get their nominations in.”

In 2019, 11-year-old William Rae from Edinburgh took home the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year award. Growing everything from radishes to rhubarb, William wowed the judges with his gardening knowledge and how he’d shared his love of gardening with his schoolmates; instigating a garlic growing competition and mentoring his fellow pupils.

A team of nine from Springhallow School in Ealing, London, a school for young people with autism, received the team award for their work creating a beautiful and productive garden from scratch, while Michelle Jones, a parent volunteer from Ashmount Primary School in Crouch Hill, London, was named RHS School Gardening Champion for being the driving force behind a flourishing school gardening club.

For more information and advice about school gardening visit the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website: schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk

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