Young volunteer winner shares his prize visit to Kew Gardens
Published: 22 Nov 2023
The Wonderseekers Young Steering Group won an honorary prize for Volunteers of the Year for their amazing contributions to science engagement at Winchester Science Centre. The award, now in its second year, was awarded at the ASDC Conference 2023 in Belfast and is sponsored by the Marsh Trust.
The group of young people aged between 6 and 12, were awarded prize money of £250, and free entry to many of the science centres and museums within the ASDC network.
One of the winners from the group, Oscar, visited Kew Gardens during half term with his family, and he has kindly shared his experience and what winning this award means to him.
Oscar's email and photos:
Thank you for the amazing experience this prize offered me. It was an incredible day I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to go on. Some of my favourite parts were the Palm House, where I saw a flourishing banana tree, giant bamboo, and palm leaves the size of me! I really enjoyed getting lost in the spacious grounds and it felt wide, open and peaceful. It didn’t feel busy and I liked the Autumn leaves on the trees and learning about the different species of plants from my Grandad who we were with.
I enjoyed going into the Temperate house where they had a Queer nature exhibit. We learnt that a tree that was 5,000 years old and had been male all its life suddenly began producing yew berries after a life time of being male! It was interesting how our binary ways of understanding plants might have been wrong. I liked the fact that the exhibition had been organised by the LGBTQ community and with involvement from the 14-18 year old youth panel. Unfortunately the treetop walkway and the Hive were closed, but this is a good excuse to go back again!
I was sad to find some rubbish around the gardens, which I collected with my Mum and carried to the gates where we recycled it. It was very upsetting that people thought it was ok to litter, especially here, a place to protect biodiversity. I thought more discrete bins would help to prevent this. I also worried about the buggies that were taking people around the gardens, which sometimes didn’t have both lights and sounds alerting you to their presence, and it made me worried that blind/deaf people might not know when they were coming.
Overall my favourite thing was going somewhere which had strong moral values and was using money from tourists to protect nature and to ensure biodiversity in the future. It made me feel good. I think Winchester Science centre can gather some ideas from my visit about how young people can be inspired to protect nature. I would like to go back soon to this special place and I will never forget my visit.