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  • Writer's pictureHana Křížová

Excursion to the Dresden Botanical Garden

Updated: May 27

On Thursday, May 16, 2024, a workshop focused on bionics, which we organized as part of our InterBridge project, continued with an excursion to the botanical garden managed by the Technical University of Dresden. As you already know from previous articles, our project connects science and art and is also a bridge between our region and Saxony. With this workshop, we connected students from Liberec and Dresden through bionics, which combines the beauty and functionality of nature with technology and human creativity. Our main goal was to raise young people's interest in science and technology and to support their international cooperation.

The event followed the lecture by associate professor Dora Kroisová on bionics, which was held at the Institute for Nanomaterials in Liberec a month ago for approximately 50 children from elementary school Sokolovská in Liberec. A bus full of these children arrived in Dresden to immerse themselves in the secrets of bionics hidden in the botanical garden. Almost 10,000 plant species grow there on an area of approximately 3 hectares. Our young students mainly watched the exposition of the bionic trail and got to know the plants that served as inspiration for bionic technologies.

The excursion was also attended by four teachers from elementary school Sokolovská as pedagogical supervisors, as well as dr. Voleská from the Institute for Nanomaterials, who had an expert explanation of the bionic path prepared for the children, and two students from the Technical University in Liberec - Káťa Chromčáková from the Faculty of Science, Humanities and Education and Honza Plíhal from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Káťa and Honza had an important task - they addressed German visitors in the botanical garden on behalf of TUL and our project. Using a fun test on bionics, they determined the level of knowledge in this field and promoted the InterBridge project and its activities.

During the tour through the botanical garden, our young students encountered a number of fascinating examples of bionics in the plant world. An impressive pavilion of cacti and succulents showed them the resilience and adaptability of plants in harsh conditions. The humid tropical pavilion of South America and Asia introduced them to plants that have evolved to live in humid and warm environments. Special attention was paid to plants that served as inspiration for bionic technologies. Bamboo with its strength and lightness, horsetail with its ability to accumulate silicon and resist fire, water lilies with their water-repellent leaves, cacti with their ability to retain water, strelicia with its aerodynamic shape and tangerine with its self-adhesive seeds - these are just some examples how nature becomes inspiration for innovative technologies.

The active involvement of children was an important part of our bionic workshop. They were given the task of taking pictures of plants in specific colors and will then create them artistically under the guidance of their teacher Mgr. Červinka. The children's creations will become part of a traveling exhibition that will present the results of the InterBridge project.

In the Dresden Botanical Garden, young students from elementary school Sokolovská also met German students from the botanical school, who have practical botany lessons right on the grounds of the botanical garden. They also filled out our bionics test and promised to participate in the traveling exhibition with their art works inspired by bionics. The test was available in German not only for students of the Dresden Botanic School and German children, with whom we had previously arranged to meet at the botanical garden (long live social media!), but also for random German visitors in the botanical garden. Mgr. Červinka, who in addition to art education also teaches the German language, was very helpful during these contacts. He couldn't be everywhere, but thanks to the universal space language (English) and modern technologies (mobile phones with translators), communication between people speaking different languages is no longer an obstacle.

Students, plant lovers and those interested in bionics, science and art from Liberec and Dresden had the opportunity to practice their language skills, knowledge of botany and bionics, as well as establish new contacts with people from the other side of the border.

You must be wondering how the results of our bionics tests with German children, students and random visitors to the botanical garden turned out: well beyond expectations. Most of the respondents demonstrated a very good knowledge of bionics. It can be seen that the Dresden Botanical Garden with its bionic trail fulfills not only a relaxing and aesthetic, but also an educational role to an excellent degree.

Excursions in the Dresden Botanical Garden and the entire bionic workshop were a great success and well received by all participants. The children enjoyed learning about the fascinating world of bionics and actively participated in the program. Meeting with German students and promoting the InterBridge project contributed to building cross-border contacts and spreading awareness of bionics among young people. And now we can only look forward to all the works of art that will reach us as outputs from this event and will become part of our first traveling exhibition. The exhibition will be presented at various locations in the Czech Republic and Saxony, and its aim will be to acquaint the general public with the fascinating world of bionics and to inspire interest in science and technology.

The workshop in the botanical garden at TU Dresden showed how the InterBridge project can connect curious and active people from both countries and open the door to the world of science and knowledge. Thanks to the active involvement of children, students, teachers and scientists, this event became an inspiring and entertaining event that contributed to building international contacts and spreading awareness about bionics - a field that combines functionality and beauty, technology and nature, science and art.

Hana Křížová

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