Karlsruhe, Germany
City population: 287412
Duration: 2010 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Sub-microscale: Street scale (including buildings)
Project area: 9000 m2
Type of area: Other
Last updated: October 2021

The eco-pedagogical garden is an initiative of the University of Education in Karlsruhe on its own site. Its goal is to provide a space for hands-on learning for university students about sustainable development, biodiversity and ecosystems. Based on that, they develop ideas about how to implement such gardens in schools and how to best teach future schoolchildren about these issues. About 120 university students participate in this coursework which forms an integral part of their studies, learn about efficient gardening and how to organize and administer school gardening activities. Apart from the vegetable garden, the garden has a biotope, nature and wilderness area which serves as a sanctuary for birds & small mammals and wild bees. (Ref. 2 and 3).

Eco-pedagogical school in Karlsruhe
Photographer: Dorothee Benkowitz (2018), retrieved 08/10/2018


Nature-based solution

  • Grey infrastructure featuring greens
  • Institutional green space
  • Community gardens and allotments
  • Allotments
  • Community gardens

Key challenges

  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Environmental education
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Creation of opportunities for relaxation and recreation


Creation of new green areas, Maintenance and management of urban nature, Knowledge creation and awareness raising

Project objectives

-Facilitate access to urban nature and garden plants for children and teenagers via participatory measures (Ref. 2) -Prepare university students for the ecosystem and nature-related teaching and respective skills development both content-wise and methodologically (Ref. 3) -Prepare students for teaching sustainable development in schools and pre-schools (Ref. 2) -Creating secure habitats for species and fauna, while protecting the genetic diversity of the varieties, the diversity of species and the diversity of ecosystems. (Ref. 3)

Implementation activities

School gardens and participatory approaches to the design of school grounds enabled greater access to biodiversity, which is becoming increasingly rare for children and young people in an increasingly urban world. (Ref. 3) The school garden offers pupils opportunities to expand their knowledge of shapes, to get to know useful plants and to practice using botanical names. The experiences in the school garden also had an influence on the students' acceptance of "ugly food" and on the perception of seasonality and locality. (Ref. 3, 6) Since students are prepared to teach their parents about sustainable development and lifestyles, this could also improve sustainable consumption and production in the long run (Ref. 3) The project advances scientific research by the continuous surveying of the school garden situation in the state, by conducting development and impact studies on school gardening, on school grounds and school surroundings as a learning space, and access to biodiversity. (Ref. 2)

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect and enhance urban habitats
  • Create new habitats
  • Means for conservation governance
  • Raise public awareness
  • Public engagement

Main beneficiaries

  • Public sector institution (e.g. school or hospital)
  • Researchers/University
  • Other


Management set-up

  • Led by non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Public sector institution

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Co-planning
  • Dissemination of information and education
  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)
  • Co-management/Joint management

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The ecological learning garden was initiated and is led by the Institute for Biology and School Garden Development of the University of Education in Karlsruhe. (Ref. 2)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? No
... a local policy or strategy? No


Total cost


Source(s) of funding

  • Public local authority budget

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget

Non-financial contribution


Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Green space and habitat
  • Reduced biodiversity loss
  • Increased number of species present

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved access to urban green space
  • Increased sustainability of agriculture practices
  • Education
  • Increased support for education and scientific research
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature

Type of reported impacts

Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports


Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records


Eco-pedagogical school in Karlsruhe
Photographer: Dorothee Benkowitz (2010), retrieved 08/10/2018
Eco-pedagogical school in Karlsruhe
Photographer: Dorothee Benkowitz (2010), retrieved 08/10/2018
Eco-pedagogical school in Karlsruhe
Photographer: Dorothee Benkowitz (2013), retrieved 08/10/2018