Plant illiteracy “, i.e. poor knowledge of plants and their role in our environment resulting from the phenomenon of „plant blindness “, expressing human ignorance of plants, are significant problems in our society.
Harmful landscape management, owing to the low level of human knowledge of plants, leads to an increase in continental drought, increase of local temperatures and a shift towards an arid climate interrupted by torrential rains and climate extremes, air and water pollution, increased global CO2 budget or soil erosion. These are the reasons why the plant blindness and plant illiteracy are considered as „stumbling blocks“ for sustainable development. Roots of plant blindness and illiteracy are initiated in school education. Plants are less attractive to the students than animals; learning botany is considered boring and difficult. Furthermore, several key topics like the role of transpiration in the air-conditioning function of vegetation, the role of vegetation in the water cycle in the landscape or plant – atmosphere interactions are under-represented or omitted from science education. To ensure sustainable economy and environment for the future it is necessary to address plant blindness, to improve public plant literacy and to enhance the attractiveness of learning botany. For these reasons an innovation in botany education is necessary starting already by the innovation of teachers’ training at universities.
The idea for designing innovative strategies for teachers‘ training at international level in frame of ERASMUS+ project arose based on the Czech Republic previously developed innovative teaching methodology on plant role in solar energy distribution and water cycle in the landscape. This methodology was developed in join cooperation of University of South Bohemia and ENKI, o.p.s. in frame of the project supported by Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TACR TL 01000294) in Czech language and for national purposes only. As plant blindness and plant illiteracy are international problems, after the introduction of this methodology at international forum a requirement for development of more educational activities and modern teaching materials including more topics from plant life in other European languages has arisen.
More information can be found at the projects' website: www.planteducation.eu