Science - In the spotlight

Isis Education Centre

What is it?

An exciting new eco-friendly education centre in London, designed to encourage city children to explore nature and the environment. Situated in Hyde Park, the pound;2.2 million centre features nature trails, a lightning tree, a butterfly-bank and mini-beast habitats.

What will it offer?

Isis promises all-year-round, hands-on learning linked to the national curriculum and has facilities for pupils to analyse fieldwork findings, including microscopes linked to laptops, interactive whiteboards, webcams to observe life inside nests, and endoscopes for underwater observation in the dipping pond.

How did it come about?

The centre is the result of a collaboration between the Royal Parks Foundation and the Halcyon Gallery, with some celebrity benefactors. Simon Gudgeon's Isis - a 3m bronze statue of an ibis, named after the Egyptian nature goddess - was given to the park in 2008. At its base lie 1,000 plaques available for personal inscription at pound;1,000 each to raise pound;1 million towards the project.

Who will use it?

The centre will prioritise state schools for its education programme and will offer subsidies for those who cannot afford the fees. The programme will be delivered by the Royal Parks Foundation team and supplemented through partnerships with other education providers.

Anything else?

The Gate House building - an original Edwardian police look-out - is an integral part of the project and has been carefully restored for use as a place to meet and study. Its redesign is inspired by tree houses and its roofline mimics the curve of a tree canopy.

For bookings, information and all education enquiries see or telephone 0207 086 8057. Or visit

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