Protocols for School and College Visits
Our Mission Statement
The HRBG's Mission Statement is:
To grow, study, conserve and promote plants, in particular, the plants of the Hunter Region.
For schools and colleges our educational mission is:
Through observation, recording and interpretation - To explore the diversity and relationships of plants within the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens and the wider world.
The Hunter Region Botanic Gardens endeavors to provide an atmosphere that allows all visitors to enjoy a positive and relaxing experience.
There is a wide range of interest groups and visitors at the HRBG at any one time that seek to enjoy the ambiance and surroundings of the Gardens. School groups form a small proportion of the total number of visitors.
Our guides are volunteers trained to assist teachers and educational groups from schools and colleges. Most of the guides have an educational background - teachers, lecturers, and educational administrators - and are generally retired from the full-time workforce. Other guides have no educational background but are very enthusiastic volunteers who have a deep and committed interest to the HRBG. However, our guides are limited in number and often have other commitments. Consequently guide availability may not coincide with school or college requests.
It is for this reason, that educational institutions wishing to use the HRBG as an educational resource are strongly advised to clearly understand the visit Protocols.
It is also highly recommended that teachers or lecturers visit the HRBG prior to their group visit.
The HRBG will endeavor to meet all visit requests to satisfy syllabus and teaching program requirements.
- Should the conditions at the HRBG be considered unsafe then the management of the HRBG
- reserves the right to postpone the visit;
- Where possible and desired, trained guides will be available to lead the excursion and initiate activities;
- The HRBG will provide sufficient information for pre-visit preparation at the school or college;
- If a guide is unavailable, then teacher briefing will be available to staff prior to a visit to the HRBG.
It is the teacher responsibility of the school or college prior and during visits to:
- Understand that the welfare of the visiting students remains the responsibility of the teacher and the school (Duty of Care). It is a condition of entry that the school complies with the provisions of the Working with Children Legislation;
- Familiarize each student with their expected behaviour so that other users of the HRBG are not compromised or affected (Code of Conduct);
- Supervise the behaviour of all students at all times during the visit;
- Provide copies of worksheets and related materials for each student;
- Have completed adequate pre-visit preparation for each student;
- For the teacher to actively participate with the learning experience;
- One teacher or Security Approved person to accompany 15 to 20 children per HRBG guide;
- On arrival at the HRBG, the school must provide with entry payment a list of all visiting students and the supervising teachers and Security Approved persons.
It is the prerogative of the HRBG guide not to proceed with the field study should any of the above not meet the guide's satisfaction.
- To follow all instructions by the HRBG guide or staff member relating to:
- Littering; disposal of rubbish; keeping to all walking paths; not to pick or break any plant; minimum amount of noise; to listen when either the guide or teacher is talking; common expected behaviour courtesies.
- To ensure all worksheets and related materials are secure in a clipboard or folder to avoid loss or littering.
Tips to make the visit an enjoyable experience for all:
- The ideal maximum sized group is 15 students; more, makes it difficult for the guide to guide and the students to hear, observe and record;
- Try to plan your arrival at least 15 minutes prior to the timed start so that visits to the toilet may be made, disposal of rubbish, application of insect screen (mosquitoes, particularly in the warmer months are prevalent), and storage of bags is completed;
- Please have cheques for entry fees presented on arrival unless prior arrangements have been made;
- Please ensure all worksheets are distributed to students prior to arrival. It is strongly recommended that secure folders for the worksheets be with each student;
- Please make sure both Teacher Responsibilities and Student Responsibilities are clearly understood;
- Please consult the HRBG management when planning your visits should seasonal fluctuations with mosquitoes or other seasonal conditions pose a risk to the health and safety of the students.
- It is recommended that visits be timed to commence at 10.00am;
- On arrival the guide will greet you and allow time for the group to complete the necessary "housekeeping";
- It is recommended that the visit not exceed two hours "in the field". Any additional time is mutually decided by the teacher / lecturer / guide.
Fees and Conditions
- A $5.50 fee applies for each student. Teachers and assisting adults are free;
- A 10% non-refundable deposit must accompany each booking: seasonal advice postponement excepted;
- A minimum four weeks initial booking is required under normal circumstances;
- Study tours commence at 10.00am or by appointment;
- Class groups generally should be limited to 15 students per group;
- Proper footwear must be worn (no sandals or thongs), adequate insect screen protection is highly recommended;
- Unless the school or college has made prior arrangements, visits must take place on either a Tuesday or a Thursday.
The Hunter Region Botanic Gardens reserves the right to terminate any school or college visit or refuse to accept a booking due to other mitigating circumstances.