Learning in the School Garden


Sustainability at your fingertips: The former monastery garden of the Freiburg Charterhouse is an important part of the school’s sustainability concept which can illustrate global processes on 0.2 hectar. Officially designated as a school garden in 2016, the site offers students the opportunity to learn basic organic gardening and is firmly integrated into the curriculum. Together with four groups of students, the UWC garden teachers work in and around the garden both in summer and in winter, digging, sowing, cutting branches or planting trees. In addition to the approximately 400 crops, since September 2018 the area has also been home to a self-made clay oven for baking bread and pizza and has a corner for bees, ducks and chickens.

A journey through the monastery garden during four seasons: UWC teacher Lucia Perona accompanied the school garden with her camera for one year.

Impressions from Spring Day 2019. Captured by our student Amooni Raid.

Historical Learning Place

The former kitchen garden of the Carthusian monks lies below the school building on route to the canal and the street. A high stone wall protects the 2,000 square meters of garden area including a greenhouse, cold frames and a classic layout in four fields with crossroads and central little pool. This area has remained unchanged in size and location for over 500 years, serving its changing owners Carthusian monks, aristocrats, residents of the retirement home, private families and the UWC   as a self-provisioning garden. The management has been carried out biologically since 1992, until 2014 in certified form. There is a large variety of crops with many old and forgotten varieties, with own seed extraction and growing. Thus, for example, the cultivation of the medicinal plant Angelica (angelica archangelica) was revived, which was already traded at the time of the Carthusian monks as an “export hit”.

Plant Diversity Today

Since 2015, UWC Robert Bosch College and the garden have been partner of the organization Pro Specie Rara. The foundation is committed to the cultural-historical and genetic diversity of plants and animals. Due to its large variety of crops, the monastery garden offers ideal conditions for endangered species. At the moment more than 60 varieties of tomatoes are growing in our garden, seeds and seedlings of which we offer once a year at the Freiburg “Tomato Exchange”. Furthermore, we are part of “1000 Gärten” Projekts of the company Taifun, researching on the cultivation of soybean plants for tofu in Germany. At regular intervals, Pro Specie Rara offers events at the college, such as the yearly meeting of the “Preservers of Variety Club” – all public dates can be found below on our page.

I grew up in the neighboring forester’s lodge. I have been taking care of the garden for many years and am now responsible as a garden pedagogue at the UWC for passing this knowledge on to 200 curious students from all over the world. What particularly pleases me is the exchange between the students and the garden volunteers from Freiburg: this helper team has existed for many years, every Friday they work together with the kids and take care of our beautiful garden even during school holidays. The program is a bridge into the city.

Eva Maria Schüle
Argrawissenschaftlerin and UWC garden pedagogue

Volunteer Gardening

Every Friday from 3 to 6 pm, the historic monastery garden of the former Charterhouse transforms into the meeting point of garden lovers from Freiburg and the surrounding area. Whether young or old, experienced or inexperienced gardeners, already skilled in organic farming or with a very clear learning objective in mind: There are many reasons for wanting to participate in the garden volunteer program. Many participants have been there for many years, and more and more people come to join. Since 2009, the group has been led by agricultural scientist and garden pedagogue Eva-Maria Schüle and her assistant Zana Mehic.

SWR journalist Ines Plume visited the Klostergarten in April 2024. For the TV-format Landesschau, she prepared a 5-minute insight into our gardener Eva Schüle’s world; take a look! 


Public Events

For a very long time, the monastery garden has been known to many garden lovers from the South Baden area. There are always opportunities to discover and get to know the garden, for example by taking a tour or a workshop. From June to October we are an integral part of the Bauerngartenroute and also open our doors once a year for the Tag der offenen Gärten. Our garden teachers also offer workshops and seminars on medicinal herbs, trees, essential oils and much more, or make tours for groups or school classes. Contact us!

Our Insect House Project

Researchers from the University of Freiburg and UWC students are looking for Germany-based partner schools to research the development of insect populations. The decline of insects has been one of the big topics in 2018. Nevertheless, we still lack knowledge about the factors which influence the distribution of insects in Germany. That’s what researchers from the Chair of Landscape Ecology of the University of Freiburg, together with students from the United World College, want to change. As part of a project supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation, the research team is planning to send “Insect houses” – simple plastic pipes, which are filled with reed and bamboo canes – to schools all over Germany.

Participating schools receive two insect houses in springtime and put them up on the school grounds. Solitary bees and wasps lay their eggs in the pipes during summer. In winter one of the Insect houses will be sent back to Freiburg, where students from UWC and researchers will analyze the nests. The cooperating school will receive a new insect house afterwards. The project will continue for several years; in addition to the insect houses, cooperating schools will receive information material and the results of the analysis of the nests. For this project to work, we need many schools to partner up all over Germany.

The insect house project by the University of Freiburg and the UWC Robert Bosch College wants to gain knowledge about the biodiversity of solitary bees.