Education in context, education in action

The Living Rainforest offers a unique educational visit for people of all ages and abilities to learn how the future of tropical rainforests and other ecosytems is closely connected to human lives and lifestyles.

The Living Rainforest’s education programme can be separated into two phases:

  • Phase 1: Creating an ecosystem experience
  • Phase 2: Exploring the relationship between people and nature


Phase 1

Creating an ecosystem experience with interacting plants and animals, interpretation and events to give people a ‘first hand’ experience of a unique sensory environment. This phase is well established and on-going achievements include:

  • providing a much-needed home for illegally-traded animals confiscated by HM Customs, including Montane Chameleons (Tanzania), Reunion Day and Dull Day Geckos (Indian Ocean), Home’s Hingeback Tortoises (W Africa) and Golden Mantella Frogs (Madagascar)
  • expanding the number of free-range animal species, including reptiles such as the Plumed Basilisk (South America) and Asian Water Dragon (SE Asia), birds such as the White-cheeked Turaco (Africa) and Roul-roul Partridge (SE Asia) and butterflies such as the Blue Morpho (C&S America) and Tree Nymph (India)
  • enhancing the heating and water quality of the aquatic displays
  • improving the display of epiphytes in the tree canopy
  • introducing hands-on workshops on fair trade chocolate, leaf-printing, arachnids and more
  • developing the talks programme, including the challenges facing indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon, orchids and bromeliads, and renewable energy options 

Phase 2

Exploring the relationship between people and nature. This phase has brought major developments looking at human needs, economies and cultures and the impacts of man on nature. Recent developments have included:

  • a ‘Sustainable Future’ tour
  • a ‘Rainforest Medicines’ tour
  • a major campaign to improve and extend our buildings, and interpret them as part of the overall experience
  • grand opening of the Human Impact Building in March 2006, with funding from the UK Millennium Commission and the European Commission
  • launch of the Trust for Sustainable Living in 2007
  • numerous conferences on topical sustainability subjects and challenges


The Rainforest’s education work is aimed at both formal and informal audiences.

  • Around 20% of visitors are ‘formal’ school groups making use of TLR as a versatile educational resource for teaching the National Curriculum (Science, Geography, Art and Citizenship)
  • The remaining 80% are ‘informal’ day visitors, many of whom have never before visited a rainforest environment

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