Education with a difference – learn in and about Nature in the “green classroom” of the FEZ with an Eco garden, tropical greenhouse and apiary.The Eco Island is a green oasis of learning and experience where school classes and families can connect with nature up close. Observing, learning, testing experimental working methods and feeling at home in nature – all this is possible at the same time on the Eco Island. It consists of three areas: the eco-garden, the greenhouse and the bee farm. All three form the stage for a variety of educational and experience-oriented offers, which convey age-appropriate and vivid scientific knowledge within the framework of project days. An overview of the current educational offers can be found here. In the eco-garden, visitors will find suggestions for mixed beds, a spice and medicinal herb kingdom, a large fragrance and touch bed as well as a high bed. In addition, there is a garden pond, a clay oven as well as a clay pavilion, an insect hotel, a roof greening model, etc. With the use of renewable energy sources for electricity generation by means of photovoltaics, wind generators and hot water treatment by flat-plate solar panels, the eco-garden house offers suggestions for promoting environmentally conscious action. The tropical greenhouse includes a succulents house, a mini rainforest with pond and a multifunctional work space. Since 2013, the Eco Island has also operated a show facility for aquaponics which, with its combination of fish farming and plant breeding, shows a good example of sustainable management. Visitors to the bee farm, which invites guests to observe bees with display cases and educational boards, will obtain an insight into the world of the beekeeper. They can observe the bustle of the bees through viewing windows and, equipped with hat and veil, watch as the bees build their honeycombs in the tree cavity. A special highlight every year is the opportunity to participate in the honey harvest and taste the new honey. Also popular is the demonstration of beeswax extraction from old honeycombs. In addition, under guidance visitors can independently produce candles and figures from beeswax. Children's birthday parties can also be celebrated on the Eco Island. There are two different offers that you can book by calling +49 30-53071-333.
Project days and weeks regularly take place on the Eco Island – extracurricular educational courses, which are developed in cooperation with other areas of the FEZ Berlin and a network of partners. At the weekends and in the summer holidays, families can do a lot of interesting things in the eco-garden. The standard offer includes a plant bazaar, the potting of young plants and a nature quiz. In addition, there are changing activities such as near-natural gardening, making herbs durable, baking in a clay oven, tasting honey, felting, geocaching and much more. On Saturdays, the Eco Island beekeeper is on site at the bee farm from 13.00 to 17.00 and makes himself available to interested visitors.
The greenhouse and part of today's eco-garden were opened 40 years ago together with the Pioneer Palace and belonged to the Department of Natural Sciences. In the morning there were activities for registered classes and groups, in the afternoon various working groups and courses for day care groups. Approximately 10 weekends a year, the greenhouse opened its doors to families. In 1991, the garden area was expanded and a new concept for nature-oriented gardening with an eco-garden house and various biotopes was implemented. The so-called "Bee Farm", consisting of two small garden sheds and a covered apiary at the edge of a large flower meadow, has been around for 25 years.