KEVI Science Gardens: Past, Present and Future

The development of our three Science gardens depicting the past, present and future has been inspired by one of our Alumni, Alan Davison Emeritus Professor of Environmental Biology (Newcastle University).

Alan became a Foundation Governor to the school later in his life and as he moved into retirement, his passion and drive to continue working with the school, helped us to find new ways of enriching the learning experience for our students and galvanised us into action.

The Present: The Mulberry Science Garden

Between 2014- 2016 we worked with Alan and utilised his expertise and knowledge to develop the first science garden. With support from Brims Construction Company, 4 raised beds were built and Alan designed 10 different environments with particular plants in each section for students to study. Additional help came from Wyevale’s ‘Heighley Gate’ Garden Centre and Morpeth Town Council in looking after the plants and maintaining the new space.  The final step to completion was with the science charity Opal who helped us to begin a small wild meadow area.

The garden has been a great success with staff and students enjoying it and using it all year round in a variety of subjects. Alan died in August 2016 and to honour him we are continuing his work with the development of a further two science gardens. In the future we will host community events and invite the public in to view our special gardens. The first public event is planned for this summer to commemorate the death of our famous Morpeth botanist William Turner.

The Past: The KEVI William Turner Garden – under construction

Alan’s interest in local history has led us to explore our past and recognise the possibility that William Turner, the famous botanist, physician and theologian who was educated in Morpeth, may well have been a former pupil of our school. The King Edward VI School began life as a church school in the Morpeth Chantry back in the 1300s and was later re-founded (1552).  As a boy, William Turner (1508-68) lived in Morpeth and received his early education here before leaving for Pembroke Hall, Cambridge.

To develop our Turner Garden, we have worked closely with the Friends of William Turner Morpeth group (FOWTM) and received expert advice from plant historian Dr Marie Addyman. The preparation work began in 2017 and with everyone’s help; we have now completed the first phase of planting with recognised plants from the 1500s.

The Future: The Carbon Capture Garden – 2018 – 2020 project

Alan’s interest in the future of the environment has led to us furthering our links with Newcastle University. With the help of Professor David Manning and his Research Assistant Kevin Stott from the National Green Infrastructure Facility, School of Engineering, Urban Sciences Building, we are now embarking on a two year scientific project to develop a Carbon Capture Garden. This garden will be a site of experimentation for students and will be based on the knowledge that the NCl University team have acquired during the development of their ‘SUCCESS’* project.

Click here for a list of plants used.