- Senior School
Our Botanics Society bases its principals on ecotherapy - connecting pupils’ mental health with nature and ‘growing their minds’.
Ecotherapy is where we allow ourselves to connect with nature on some level which, in turn, has many health benefits for our bodies and minds. Recently, it has become a bit of a buzz topic with more people becoming aware that ecotherapy improves mental health. The busyness of everyday life prevents the majority of us from being able to take a breather and gain some control of our worries. This is a key reason our Botanics Society plays such a crucial role for many pupils within the school community as some of the noted benefits include:
Lowering stress levels
Helping those who worry or have low mood
Promoting a good night’s sleep
Allowing people to connect with one another in a safe space
Throughout the academic year, the society organises various activities and trips such as visiting the Japanese Water Gardens to a relaxing session tending to the school pond plants. Mrs Melville runs the group and explained the impact it can have on pupils:
“We have enjoyed three trips this year to help pupils ‘grow their minds’. These have included the Japanese Water Gardens, Botanics Illuminated trail and Summer Guided tour. Every activity we do involves plants in some form as a means to allow our pupils to connect to the natural environment. We even got creative when we took a walk to collect conkers and made sweet, little snails with them! Similarly, we also made wildflower seed bombs to help the wildlife around us and during Feel Good February, we decorated pots and planted primroses in them - this was a huge hit! Ecotherapy offers pupils structured time to focus on one task as a means to create a sense of calmness.”
Three of our pupils met with us to explain what they enjoy about their involvement in the Botanics Society:
“I have been attending the Botanics Society for about a year now and thoroughly enjoy everything we do. For me, learning about the importance of plants has been particularly interesting as I love animals but am keen to engage in more about horticulture as it has proved incredibly relaxing. Working with plants provides a multitude of benefits I was previously unaware of - for example, through the work we do at the Botanics Society, you can learn how you can make gardens and other such places more biodiverse and sustainable. These learnings are further enhanced on our various trips throughout the academic year which are very educational.
As a group, we spend time in the school’s greenhouse where we nurture all sorts of different plants from cacti and vegetables to sunflowers and so much more. Planting different flower species here or by the school pond proves a very therapeutic activity for us all. The pond has just recently got a solar powered sprinkler which you can see working during a sunny day! This has been particularly interesting during the last of the September sunshine!”
“I have been part of the Botanic Society ever since I joined Watson’s in S2. Over the years I have participated in a variety of activities the club has offered including the excursion to the Japanese Water Gardens and leading a number of plant-focussed painting sessions. I found the latter particularly challenging as I tend to shy away from leadership roles. However, being encouraged to step out of my comfort zone proved to be an eye opening experience, enhancing my confidence and communication skills.
Another fantastic aspect of the Botanic Society is the delightful atmosphere - being surrounded by an abundance of vibrant plants and caring for them is a very therapeutic way to spend your Friday lunch time. Not only that, throughout the academic year, we are encouraged to get creative in our pumpkin carving session at Halloween, enjoy various trips to botanical gardens and garden centres whilst also creating artwork, planting and sowing seeds. The group is an incredibly fulfilling one that I would highly recommend.”
“Last session, I loved immersing myself in the Light Trail at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The trip allowed me to not just appreciate the beautiful illuminations but also encouraged me to get to know more pupils and teachers. I valued this a lot as, at the time I joined the society, I was fairly new to the school. As we experienced the first display of the light trial; rows and rows of torches lit the entrance path. The torches’ pungent smell didn’t deter from the overall beauty of the setting and as we walked further along the path, we saw different displays, some featuring strobes and others more stationary. My favourites were the poppy-like flowers that were hung above the path through the Chinese Hillside section of the Gardens and the tree with stripes of LEDs expertly placed along it. Mrs Melville and I marvelled at how one might have had to set the lights so high in the tree! As we made our way round, the multi-coloured lilies on the pond with ducks swimming around them was particularly poignant, not to mention the light of numerous candles flickering around another water feature, creating a romantically warm and enchanted setting. An image that sticks in my mind, however, is of a tree draped in fairy lights - it looked so reminiscent of shining, dripping jewels from a fantasy world which was very calming. As we approached the end of our trip, we gathered around a canopy of vaulted fairy lights that created a huge tunnel - this was a breathtaking sight.”
To find out more about the Botanic Society, please contact Mrs Melville who would be delighted to welcome you to the group which runs every Friday at lunch time.
- Club of the Month