Posted 20 January 2012
I’m the same age now as Charles Darwin was when he set off on the voyage of the Beagle, so we are hoping to bring some of the same youthful enthusiasm to this one event as Darwin did to his studies during his time abroad."
Visitors will have a fresh chance to explore Charles Darwin’s Garden in Shrewsbury next month, during an Open Day with a difference on the 203rd anniversary of the evolutionist’s birth.
The event on Sunday, February 12, at the garden behind Darwin’s birthplace and family home, The Mount, is being organised by students from Harper Adams University College, in association with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and garden owners Sharon and John Leach.
The students are planning the event as part of their “Managing Countryside Projects” module. Project Manager Robert Smith, 22, from Kingsbridge in Devon, is in the final year of a BSc (Hons) course in Countryside Management.
He said: “We are all very excited about the Open Day on February 12, which is at the start of the annual Darwin Festival. I’m the same age now as Charles Darwin was when he set off on the voyage of the Beagle, so we are hoping to bring some of the same youthful enthusiasm to this one event as Darwin did to his studies during his time abroad.
“The Wildlife Trust and Mr and Mrs Leach have been extremely supportive, and we have even been given loan of some fossilised pine cones brought back by Darwin that will be exhibited on the day.
“It is a really great for Harper students, the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Mr & Mrs Leach to work together in celebrating someone with such cultural importance to Shrewsbury and the world.”
The Open Day runs from 10am to 2pm and will include tours of the garden and surrounding area, with information about the young Darwin and his family. Refreshments including Fidget Pie and Galapagos Soup will be available at the garden.
The students all prepared bids to run the event, with Robert a part of the team chosen by the Wildlife Trust as the winner. As Project Manager, Robert then had to delegate jobs to his class mates, who will be involved in publicity, site interpretation, preparation of a map/leaflet, food and drinks, health and safety, car parking and more.
Robert added: “The tours will last about 30 minutes and will take in the garden, with Darwin’s ‘Thinking Path’ and the old Ice House, how the gardens used to stand, the River Severn and the old eel-trap area. Anyone who does not want to do the full tour will be able to visit just the garden, enjoy the visual interpretations, eat some Shropshire Fidget Pie, and talk to some final year Harper Adams students!”
Parking for the Open Day will be at Frankwell car park, and attendants will be on hand to direct visitors to the garden. Entry will cost £3 for adults (children free), with food and drinks available to purchase in the garden.