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The following data are taken from a presentation made by Alan Reid, editor of Environmental Education Research, in April.

A Nature Conservancy enquiry report, presented at the 1965 Keele Conference, stated that funds being spent on research into the education of all our future citizens equalled the amount devoted to research on glue.

Sean Carson said that in the 1970s the UK’s Council for Environmental Education which represented the whole of conservation and environmental education, received less public money than the English Table Tennis Association or the annual grant for research into the maintenance of sports turf.  It received less than one-hundredth of the grant to the Central Council for Physical Recreation although even on the level of those enjoying the environment as their major leisure activity, its market far outnumbers those taking part in games.

Horst Rode, an evaluator, developer and researcher of environmental education and ESD in Germany said at the start of UN DESD that while many look to Germany as a leader in all manner of things ‘green’, the annual state and federal budgets for ESD pooled to less than that spent on constructing 1km of autobahn.

The Apollo Program cost roughly $25.4 billion (in today’s money).   By contrast, the National Environmental Education Act (the primary source of US federal support for K-12 environmental education, provided $6.6 million in 2006, an average of only $132,000 per state.

£0 – the amount spent in 2019 by the DfE supporting environmental education in schools.

The post Costing the Earth appeared first on UK NAEE.

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This is a review by Gen Upton of I Am Turtle.  

The performance of I Am Turtle by the Makeshift Ensemble on 30thMay 2019 was luckily blessed by clement weather.  Visually it was exciting!  All of the props and set were imaginatively put together from reclaimed materials as befits a children’s play with an environmental message.

The audience, ranging in age from babyhood to grandparents, were amused and captivated – but the strong story about the effects of plastic pollution in the oceans came through.  Performers used music, puppetry, song, props and poetic rhyme to make sure that variety helped retain the attention of everyone.

As a mum observed:

“The future for these kids will be about caring for the world and this play introduced that reality.”

For more information about the play, and to see remaining dates, click here.

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Picture credit: Juliette Green

The post Environmental Theatre at Martineau Gardens appeared first on UK NAEE.

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NAEE, the Savers charity, and Heart of England Rotary invite you to the launch of the Cut Down on Plastics exhibition of children’s work at Holy Trinity Church, Broadgate, Coventry on Friday 28th June at 1030.  Councillor Linda Bigham, the Lord Mayor of Coventry, will launch the exhibition.  RSVP to gabrielle@back.f9.co.uk

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The Great Science Share for Schools allows children to communicate something that they have been investigating which started with a question that they were interested in.  By promoting child-centred learning in science, the campaign provides opportunity for young people to communicate their scientific questions and investigations to new audiences – in their own words and ways.  More than 58,000 children will take part this year.

More than 58,000 children will take part this year.  At the University of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery on Tuesday, 18 June hundreds of children from 45 primary schools across Greater Manchester will be demonstrating their own science investigations to each other.  For example, children from Park View Community School will consider what a non-plastic world might look like. The organisers say that this year it’s evident that children are concerned with the environment and how they can use science and engineering to improve lives.

For more information on the event you can visit the website, watch the video Introduction, or follow them on twitter @GreatSciShare using the hashtag #GreatSciShare to ask your questions and share your experiences. You can also read the Great Science Share for Schools FAQs.

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The BBC reports that scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Stockholm University have found that 571 plant species have disappeared in the last two and a half centuries.  This is more than twice the number of birds, mammals and amphibians recorded as extinct (217 species).  The report says that the data suggest that  plant extinction is happening as much as 500 times faster than what would be expected normally, if we humans weren’t around, and the researchers believe the numbers might underestimate the true levels of ongoing plant extinction.

The researchers are calling for a number of measures to stop plant extinction:

  • Record all the plants across the world
  • Support herbaria, which preserve plant specimens for posterity
  • Support botanists who carry out vital research
  • Teach our children to see and recognise local plants.

The research is published in the journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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These are links to a range of International Biodiversity resources:

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Earth Overshoot Day is July 29th this year.  The organisers say that if you’re a US or EU citizen, you can sign a petition to demand that leaders manage ecological resources responsibly.

  • In the EU, we want to increase pressure on decision makers.  Why now?  The recent elections saw a surge of green votes and of voters’ concerns about environmental issues in general.
  • In the US, we want to build up visibility of environmental issues. Why now? Democratic candidates are positioning themselves and adjusting their political platforms during the early phase of the primaries campaign.

Both US and EU petitions have reached the 30,000-signature mark in just a week.

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Commenting on the Government’s new net-zero carbon 2050 target, James Robottom of the Institution of Engineering and Technology [IET] gave a welcoming word of warning:

“Committing to net-zero by 2050 is a very ambitious and complex challenge but one that engineers have to be at the heart of.  The technology and approaches that will deliver net zero are now understood, which is crucial, but will need strong policy leadership to ensure they are implemented.  Progress has been made in transport and electricity but this needs to continue at a great pace and significant challenges remain in decarbonising heat and industry.  80% of the homes we will be living in, in 2050, have already been built, meaning foremost a national retrofit programme has to be seriously considered and implemented to bring these into net-zero targets.”

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The next meeting of the recently formed Global Learning Network for England will be on July 3rd (1345 to 16:15), at CAFOD, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London.  The main focus of this meeting will be the Advocacy strategy that Oxfam are developing on behalf of the network.  If you have not attended one of these meetings before, this network has been established following the closure of Think Global – to provide networking and sharing opportunities for organisations involved in the promotion and delivery of global learning in England.  If you want to attend, please email Doug Bourn

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A new study reported by The Ecologist considers the most likely ways the world will end, including disease, nuclear war, natural disaster and asteroid impact.  It is not a cheerful read; this is how the Ecologist’s feature begins:

“Climate change poses a significant threat to humanity, as a rise in sea levels would lead to an increased incidence and intensity of natural disasters, including floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, storms and drought.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines catastrophic climate change as a temperature increase of 1°C to 3°C above pre-industrial levels.  If the earth’s climate temperature increased by 2°C, subsequent floods would eliminate 280 million people, earthquakes would wipe out 17.6 million and drought/famine would result in 230.8 million fatalities, scientific studies have shown … .”

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On Wednesday 26th June, there will be a mass lobby outside Westminster, calling on politicians to pass a strong Environment Act that not only protects wildlife but restores it too.  The Time is Now campaign is being organised by Greener UK – a coalition of UK environmental charities including The Wildlife Trusts – and The Climate Coalition.

There’s more details here.

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The House of Commons debated the UK’s contribution to meeting the sustainable development goals last week.  You can read the contributions to the debate here.

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The YHA (England and Wales) is the lead sponsor of the CLOtC national conference and is offering free membership to all delegates attending the conference.  You can find out more about YHA membership here.  Confirmed speakers are

Phil Minns HMI, Ofsted, Specialist Adviser for Early Years and Primary who will talk about ‘Bringing an ambitious, broad and balanced curriculum to life – an Ofsted perspective.’ and Harry Bates, #iwill Ambassador and Member of Youth Parliament for Blackpool who will share his thoughts on the value of learning outside the classroom.

The conference will be hosted by Paul Rose, adventurer, TV presenter and learning outside the classroom ambassador. Paul is former vice president of the Royal Geographical Society and is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.  Discounted tickets are available if booked before 31 July 2019

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This is an account of the visit in December by a Year 6 group from St Matthew’s C of E Primary School to Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses as part of NAEE’s Hugh Kenrick Days bursary scheme.  It’s written by Foundation Subjects Leader Mr T. Etheridge.

As part of their Geography work, Year 6 at St Matthew’s CofE Primary School, Nechells, Birmingham, have been learning about the Amazon Rainforest. There is much that can be studied in the classroom; however, with the climate and general environment being so markedly different from that of central Birmingham, we were keen to provide the children with a more grounded, concrete experience of a rainforest biome. We were therefore extremely grateful to receive a Hugh Kenrick Days bursary, which allowed us to make this a reality.

The main focus of the day was the ‘Rainforest Fun’ session, led by a member of staff at the Botanical Gardens. This provided the children with the opportunity to review their geographical understanding of rainforests, as well as to deepen and broaden their knowledge of the wildlife typically found in such an environment. The children found the session extremely interesting, the practical elements offering a much richer experience than can be achieved through book study alone: one child commented on his excitement at being “picked to hold the artefacts from the rainforest”, and the way in which this had brought the topic to life for him.

The rest of the day was spent exploring the Tropical and Subtropical Glasshouses. The children were astounded by the diversity of life on display: again, although they had received some notion of this in class, seeing it for themselves really helped them to gain a deeper appreciation of – and respect for – the rainforest. As one pupil said, “It was amazing to find all of the plants that really come from the rainforest.”The humidity of the Tropical Glasshouse was a particular revelation, leading to some very interesting discussions about geographical similarity and difference. Although the trip had primarily been geared towards our geography unit, it was fantastic to see how these observations undoubtedly also served to enrich the children’s understanding of many areas of science (especially ecosystems and adaptation).

On returning to school, the children were tasked with writing an essay to wrap up their geography unit. As we had hoped, the sections on the Amazon Rainforest were particularly successful, enhanced by the practical experiences they had gained at the Botanical Gardens. It was wonderful to see how even those children who ordinarily struggle with their writing felt more confident, having a rich bank of knowledge on which to draw. The visit also fed into a subsequent exploration of global warming: having seen the environment for themselves, the children were far better placed to appreciate the devastating impact of deforestation on local ecosystems and its implications for global climate patterns. Several members of the class have subsequently expressed an interest in fundraising for tree-planting projects, and in extending the work the school does to care for our local environment: it will be exciting to see how this develops in the months ahead!

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Details of NAEE’s Hugh Kenrick Days bursary scheme can be found here.

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As we noted a couple of weeks ago, Stephen Sterling has a new website, and on this you’ll find his new blog.  We draw this to your attention because we think it will be something to watch as it develops over time.  It might even be his main mode of communication from now on.

Today, we point you to what Stephen says in his first blog post: Learning for Turning? by including an extract to whet your appetite for more.  Here it is.  Actually, it’s how the post ends:

So what of the role of education?  All education surely  – in some way – is concerned with, and equips learners for, the future.  So is not perhaps ironic that formal education systems on the whole have been long been slow – reluctant even – to recognise the extent, depth, implications and systemic nature of the profound changes that climate change and associated issues portend?   Likewise, slow to grasp critically important potential that education still has to shape the future positively and to counter threat.

A recent Anthropocene Review research paper (2018:15) suggests:

“Undoubtedly, a post-growth world will bring new challenges to education, but a successful transition in pedagogy will be instrumental in producing responsible citizens, cultivating social inclusion, and training leaders capable of guiding societies through difficult socio-ecological transitions.

So what is it to be: ‘learning for continuity’ – for ‘business as usual’ – which, ironically, will hasten the manifestation of  unprecedented social and economic dis-continuities?”

OR ‘learning for turning’ –  facing the unknown, bravely and boldly – exploring, testing, and facilitating the pathways and strategies that easing down, contraction and wellbeing may imply at individual, community and sector level?   The growing global educational response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an encouraging and very positive start, but there is yet a very long way to go.

Can education systems re-purpose themselves to bring foresight, skills, resources, deep inquiry and research, intelligence and even wisdom to bear on helping society through the difficult and extra-ordinary transitions that it will undoubtedly encounter, particularly the millennial and younger generations?   Because urgency requires agency, and that is something education can provide.

This is not ‘education for sustainable development’ (ESD), it is anticipative education, or ‘education for sustainable contraction and wellbeing’ and it has to become the rationale of education systems everywhere. (Oh dear, I feel another acronym coming on….ESCW. Sorry about that).

What did the key UNESCO Global Education Monitoring (GEM,2016) policy report,  Education for people and planet : creating sustainable futures for all  say?:

“A huge transformation is needed if we are to create sustainable futures for all.”

Quite.

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The rest of this post is here.  We know that Stephen would like to hear from you (via the blog page) if you have thoughts about what he’s written.  We shall be keeping an eye on how this blog develops and drawing attention to future posts.

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“From the freedom to explore comes the joy of learning.  From knowledge acquired by personal initiative arises the desire for more knowledge.  And from the mastery of the novel and beautiful world awaiting every child comes self-confidence.”

This quote by E.O. Wilson headed a recent message to NAAEE members and supporters from NAAEE CEO (and NAEE Fellow) Judy Braus.  This is how she begins:

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having lunch with my former entomology and ornithology professor, Don Messersmith.  At 90 years old, Don hasn’t lost a bit of his spunk in his 63 years of teaching.  He still has the same dry wit and deep passion for birds and bugs.  But he is desperately worried about the global decline of not just these creatures, but all life on earth.  “My children and grandchildren are facing a bleak future unless people truly understand what’s at stake. When a species disappears—that’s it.  You can’t go back!  And when hundreds of species disappear, the very systems that support all of us are threatened.” …

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This year, NAAEE has received 178 applications for its EE 30 Under 30 programme which is a 24 percent increase on 2018, and, more than half of the applicants are from outside North America (up from 35 percent outside last year).   Since 2016, the program has recognized 90 individuals from around the world who are making a difference through environmental education.  There’s a EE 30 Under 30 YouTube playlist where you can hear from some alumni.  Please contact Nina Hamilton nina@naaee.org with any questions

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MEEN‘s next Eco Schools Green Teach Meet is on Thursday 13th June 2019 at Medlock Primary school Wadeson Rd, Manchester M13 9UJ [3.45 to 6.30].  Medlock Primary will be sharing their eco work and give a tour of the school.  This will be followed by a session focusing on air pollution with speakers from Russell Scott Primary and Clean Air Levenshulme.  There’s also a session with colleagues from the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, Biffa and Wigan Council on waste and recycling. Please bring your questions and any issues you might have as they will have a wealth of knowledge to share.  Contact coordinator@meen.org.uk if you would like to be there.

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The GA is running Critical Thinking for Achievement summer schools with the Field Studies Council.  These will be focusing on critical thinking pedagogies and exploring opportunities to apply critical thinking to fieldwork.  Dates / locations are:

– 19 to 21 July at FSC Castle Head, Cumbria
– 23 to 25 August at FSC Flatford Mill, Essex

Contact the FSC Schools Team to book your free place and find out more.

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The University of Surrey will be the venue for the 2020 GA conference: Thursday 16 – Saturday 18 April.  The conference theme is Geography really matters!

Gill Miller, GA President, says “I am setting our geographical community a challenge: undertake one activity in 2019-20 to show that geography really matters! It may be a letter to an MP or a government minister; a presentation to a school governing body; a group response to a local/national/global issue; a social media blog or vlog extolling the virtues of geography; a school-based activity …  Now is the time to take practical action to tell the world how important geography is and how much it really does matter.”

Click here to see the advance publicity for the conference, and to find out how to submit proposals.

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The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust reports that a group of private landowners and nature conservation organisations are working to bring the native white stork back to South East England for the first time in hundreds of years. These large birds are symbolic of rebirth and evidence suggests that they were once widely distributed here. There have been many sightings in South East England over recent years, but conservationists identified that the species would need a helping hand to re-establish a breeding population in Britain.  The White Stork Project aims to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs in southern England by 2030 through a phased release programme over the next five years.  More detail (and great pics) here.

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Go WILD this June say The Wildlife Trusts.  They are challenging us to do something a little bit wild every day: that’s 30 Days of simple Random Acts of Wildness. There’s a free pack to help plan a wild month, plus ideas from your Wildlife Trust to keep us wild all throughout June (and beyond!).

30 Days Wild is in its fifth year, with hundreds of thousands of people involved across the UK.  You can Sign up! here.

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The Solar Bee Project is an initiative funded by the Naturesave Trust that aims to protect honey bees from the deadly varroa mite using thermosolar beehive technology.  The project is being rolled out over five sites across the country and aims to prove the effectiveness of using the power of the sun to protect honey bees from a parasite that has been damaging bee populations across the globe.   The Thermosolar hives have been located on community solar farms as part of a further initiative to highlight the biodiversity potential of these sites and the benefit of producing honey alongside renewable energy.  More details here.

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Geographical notes that a study of the activity of aphids, moths, butterflies and birds has revealed some surprising aspects of the UK’s ever-earlier spring.  It says that while it’s no secret that spring is now starting earlier, exactly how, why and where this is happening is a much more complex question.  Using 50 years worth of observations of UK aphids, moths, butterflies and birds a group of researchers led by Dr James Bell of the Rothamsted Insect Survey, has tried to answer some of these questions.

In part, the results confirm current understanding but this early awakening isn’t uniform across species and the degree of change depends on location and habitat.  More details here.

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The latest edition of the IUCN Newsletter Off the Shelf is available here.  It includes a range of new publications.

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We’ll finish this week with two more quotes from E.O. Wilson (c/o Judy Braus):

“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.  The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.”

“The loss of a keystone species is like a drill accidentally striking a power line.  It causes lights to go out all over.”

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Along with others interested in environment and sustainability, NAEE responded to Ofsted’s call for comments on its draft Inspection Framework.  This was our response, and others can be seen here.

Ofsted says:

“The proposals generated a significant amount of interest.  In total, we received more than 15,000 responses to the consultation.  This included almost 11,000 responses to the online questionnaire, more than 600 responses by email and post, and more than 4,000 responses as a result of a campaign by YoungMinds.  We received responses as a result of 2 smaller campaigns about young carers and Steiner schools but, given their scale, we have considered these as part of the main consultation response.   Even without the campaign, this was the largest consultation in Ofsted’s history.  This report summarises the responses to the consultation.”

These are extracts from the executive summary:

“The core proposals set out in the consultation – those relating to the proposed changes to the framework and key judgement areas – received an extremely positive response. More than three-quarters of respondents supported our introducing all new key judgements: quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, and personal development.”

“The focus of inspection will be on the real substance of education: the curriculum. Respondents to the formal consultation, and indeed the views gained from the informal consultation, overwhelmingly supported the proposal to introduce a new ‘quality of education’ key judgement for all remits. This will focus on what is intended to be learned through the curriculum, how well it is taught and assessed, and the impact it has on learners.”

“We will give greater recognition to education providers’ work to support the personal development of learners.  Respondents overwhelmingly supported the proposal to create 2 separate judgements for ‘personal development’ and ‘behaviour and attitudes’.  The new ‘personal development’ judgement will consider what a provider does to help develop learners’ character, resilience and values and the provider’s advice and support to help learners succeed in life.”

“There will also be more focus on behaviour and whether education providers create an environment in which learners are able to learn.  The new, separate judgement on ‘behaviour and attitudes’ will ask whether leaders, teachers and practitioners have high expectations for learners and implement these consistently and fairly.  Inspectors will consider whether this is reflected in the behaviours and attitudes of learners. Inspectors will look particularly at whether providers tolerate bullying or harassment of learners and staff and how they deal with it swiftly and effectively.”

One of the most wide-ranging of responses was from the English Learning and Sustainability Alliance [ELSA].   These were its specific suggestions and requests:

  1. That Ofsted inspectors encourage reporting and look for evidence of learning for sustainability and suggest whole school approaches to it
  2. That Ofsted Inspectors look for integrated approaches to curriculum, behaviour and attitudes and personal development
  3. That Inspectors use the interview time with students to see how their education matches with their concerns about the future and the world
  4. That Ofsted suggests CPD for whole school approaches
  5. That Ofsted’s ‘quality of education’ judgements include educating for a socially responsible and sustainable world and link with Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan (and Bill) and DfID’s Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning and, so that SDG4 is reported on in a holistic way

Alas, Ofsted took no notice of ELSA, or of NAEE, NUS and others such as CLOtC, which is a missed opportunity for us all and for them.

The new framework is here, and their report on the consultation is set out here.

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The Education in England (the history of our schools) website contains HMI publications including the (1979) second edition of its Curriculum 11-16 Working Papers which deals with environmental education.  This was a time when HMI took it seriously, unlike Ofsted today.  But then, HMI thought seriously about curriculum, as did a lot of other groups – unlike today it seems.  Significantly, perhaps, the young people co-ordinating the school strikes are calling for an independent curriculum review.

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Alex Christian has a petition on change.org asking DEFRA to save UK bees and butterflies by protecting wildflower meadows.  Alex says: “A staggering 97% of British wildflower meadows have been eradicated since the Second World War.  This devastation of meadows is driving disastrous declines in our bee and butterfly populations. That’s why I’m calling on the government to urgently protect the remaining meadows before it’s too late.  Our entire ecosystem and food supply chain are heavily dependent on pollinators including bees and butterflies. We must protect what remains of our wildflower meadows because nearly 1,400 species of insects rely on meadow plants for their survival.  …  You can stay up to date on the campaign to save our magnificent but vanishing meadows at Plantlife via the website, Twitter or Facebook

You can see (and support) her petition here.  Over 430,000 people have done so already.

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The UN says that World Environment Day [June 5th] is to be the day the world took action to #BeatAirPollution.  What are you doing?

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In 2015, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) launched the first national monitoring programme to help save water voles which are the UK’s fastest declining mammal.   PTES is now calling for volunteers to take part in its annual survey of these riverside residents, in order to find out where water voles are living and where they are most in need of conservation action.  Volunteers are asked to survey one of PTES’ 850 pre-selected sites across England, Wales and Scotland between the 15th April – 15th June.  New sites can also be registered if there isn’t a pre-selected site nearby.  There are more details here.

To take part click here.

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The Environmental News Network says that children might be their parents’ best climate-change teachers, but the study it cites does not refer to any of the existing environmental education research literature which shows that the conditions for this to happen are exacting.  See what you think.

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Last month saw the 50th birthday of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Butterfly Conservation says that Eric Carle’s story has introduced millions of children to the life cycle of a butterfly.  However, in this, the larva hatches on a Sunday and spends Monday to Friday eating fruit, and on Saturday the caterpillar’s it gorges on cakes, cheese and salami.  Butterfly Conservation says that this is not quite as it is in the real world of caterpillars although feeding habits are quite wide-ranging.   You can discover more here.

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Rewilding Britain is a new report that says that systematic re-wilding of the land is key to meeting carbon targets.  This is how it begins:

“We are at a crossroads. The breakdown of our climate is no longer a fringe concern, but is increasingly recognised by the public as an urgent existential threat to both nature and human society. The gap between our awareness of that threat and the inadequacy of our current response has become clear.  This report is a contribution to bridging that gap. New thinking and practical action is urgently needed if the UK Government is to meet its legally-binding commitments to combat the catastrophic effects of climate change.”

Details here.

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The Environment Agency has worked with Lancaster University on research into the social effects of flooding, including information about how to undertake, analyse and use social research in flood policy and practice.  Details here.

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Extreme global impacts is a GA collection of 12 KS 3 lessons and resources linked to the global impacts of people.  It features topics such as the impact of people on cities, tourism and on the global commons.  Extreme global impacts includes teaching notes, student activity sheets and PowerPoint presentations for each lesson.  It’s available (but only to subscribers) here.

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A new report from the Woodland Trust and Oxford University reveals that ash dieback is expected to cost the economy £15bn as it wipes out 95% of the UK’s 126 million ash trees in British woods.   Almost half of this (£7 billion) will be over the next 10 years.  There’s more detail here.   The Trust also has details of additional tree diseases; while this makes for gloomy reading it also reminds us of the dynamic nature of ecological systems where the status quo is never an option.

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This is an account of the visit in January by a Year 8 group from Hillcrest School & Sixth Form Centre to Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses as part of NAEE’s Hugh Kenrick Days bursary scheme.  It’s written by class teacher Mrs G. Sanger.

With the support of the National Association for Environmental Education and a Hugh Kenrick Days bursary, many of our Year 8 students were provided with a fantastic opportunity to visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses to consolidate what they have learned whilst studying the Ecosystems topic in geography.

Our students were able to get up close and personal with some of the plants they had studied during lessons and it gave them a real sense of appreciation as to the beauty, fragility and diversity of plant life that exists beyond the classroom.

The tropical and sub-tropical glasshouse talk, delivered by the education team at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, was really engaging! Students learned about the range of plant adaptations that exist in tropical and sub-tropical environments, as well as considering what plants grown in these conditions are used for. Our students were provided the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session, and many of them did!

Students also had the chance to visit the Arid House, where they considered the function and importance of many of the spiky and spiny adaptations they observed. Following a safety brief, students set about discovering how desert plants are adapted to survive against predators and in extreme climatic conditions. Students applied what they learned in a task which required them to think about how the specially-adapted plants might help them to survive if they ever became stranded in the desert!

Following this, students journeyed to the Mediterranean House to take in the sights and smells of the specially adapted plants there. They employed their wildest imagination to design their own fragrance, complete with a name, catchphrase and bottle design linked closely with the plants they liked the smell of.

Back at school, follow-up geography lessons have allowed our students to discuss what they learned about the balance between the human and natural world. Students recently sat an assessment in which they had to design a specially-adapted rainforest animal and many of the students have taken lots of inspiration from what they learned during their visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens!

Some of our students have also considered threats to plant diversity by attending a Debate Club centred on the importance of environmental conservation. Our Gardening Club attendees also have a much wider appreciation of the growing conditions required for certain plant species. Inspired by their visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens, our Gardening Club attendees are currently looking into options for revitalising our resident greenhouse!

Student quotes

“The trip taught me about fish and plants and was very educational.”

“Botanical Gardens was a fantastic experience and there were lots of interesting plants that we got to see, as well as some amazing animals including peacocks.”

“I learnt that it takes a long time for plants to adapt to a complete new environmental and that plants grow on trees to reach sunlight. I enjoyed the trip because I learnt a lot and the plants and flowers were interesting.”

A massive thank you to the Hugh Kenrick Days team from all of us here at Hillcrest School! We had a fantastic day and many of us are looking forward to visiting Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses in our own time to help educate family and friends!

……………………………………..

Details of NAEE’s Hugh Kenrick Days bursary scheme can be found here.

The post Hillcrest School & Sixth Form Centre visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens appeared first on UK NAEE.

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This post sets out further links to the most recent evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items.  This supports the Strategic Research Network for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas.

Significant Life Experiences and Animal-Themed Education
S Caplow, J Thomsen – Chapter in Animals in Environmental Education
This research explores how Significant Life Experiences (SLE) influences animal-themed educators in their choice to work in this field. It found that animal-themed educators share some unifying experiences with more general environmentalist populations, but that animal-related experiences may indeed represent a somewhat unique pathway to these positions. The work contributes to a greater understanding of environmental educators’ decisions and how SLEs influence their roles and identities as educators.

The Children and Nature Connection: Why It Matters
J Braus, S Milligan-Toffler – Ecopsychology
An increasing body of empirical research is showing that young people—starting from our earliest learners—who have regular experiences with nature, children who bond with nature, develop critical and creative thinking skills that will help them succeed in life. We’re also learning that immersing children in nature to play and learn can result in reduced stress, improved brain development and restoration, increased social and emotional skills development, and civic engagement.

Growing a growth mindset through the use of the outdoors
M Way, K Boland – Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Years
A recent reconceptualisation of the outdoor space at an early learning centre included the adoption of a growth mindset approach. This approach involved a focus on reorienting challenges into learning opportunities as a framework for practice. The embedding of this approach has seen a visible shift in the way educators and children use the redesigned space, with the children having a strong sense of ownership responsibility and connection to the land.

Experiencing the outdoors: Embodied encounters in the Outward Bound Trust
JH Dunne – The Geographical Journal
This paper explores young people’s experiences of outdoor education through bodily encounters with nature and place, and interactions with material objects. It draws on literature from recent outdoor education research which questions: first, the apparent lack of attention to place‐based and embodied ways of knowing in outdoor education; and second an uncritical adoption of technology and materiality in outdoor education practices. The article then engages with geographical work on the body and space, and, using original research conducted with the Outward Bound Trust, considers how embodied experiences in place are foregrounded in young people’s accounts of outdoor education. Finally the discussion draws attention to some of the structural constraints and power relations that restrict young peoples’ bodies in outdoor educational spaces.

Lasting Lessons in Outdoor Learning: A Facilitation Model Emerging from 30 Years of Reflective Practice
T Gray, F Pigott – Ecopsychology
There is a lack of longitudinal research to outline the impact of Outdoor Learning in the school curriculum. In the late 1970s, a bespoke Wilderness Studies class was introduced in an Australian school for adolescents which extended over two full academic years. Three decades later, these students were contacted to assess the residual impact of this pioneering teaching method. Utilizing social media research techniques, the study unveils their salient memories to enable a better understanding of the enduring impact of nature immersion. Invariably, respondents argued the outdoor experiences eclipsed their indoor classroom counterpart and left an indelible impression on their formative years of education. Surprisingly, a large number had occupations involving outdoor leadership or environmental stewardship.

Editorial
Gaston et al – People and Nature, A Journal of Relational Thinking
The vital importance of nature to people, and of people to the future of that nature, is self‐evident. The understanding of those linkages is, nonetheless, being critically transformed and enriched by research that transcends the barriers between ecology and other traditional disciplines. Such studies are not new, but the dramatic growth in their number and influence is, and reflects the growing need for such work in rapidly changing times and circumstances. People and Nature is founded upon a recognition of these developments, and of the need of authors and readers for a journal that is focussed on them.

The Connecting with Nature to Care for Ourselves and the Earth
The global movement #Nature for All
The report illuminates the diverse values of experiences and connections with nature and their relationship to positive behaviors towards the Earth. The information shared in this overview has a vital role to play in informing local, regional, and global policy and action on conservation, sustainable development, and related issues. The report includes a summary of the literature in the field, case study summaries, and ten main recommendations for practice in the field and ways to overcome barriers.

Outdoor time, screen time, and connection to nature: Troubling trends among rural youth?
Larson et al – Environment and Behaviour
Time outdoors and screen time influence rural youths’ connectedness to nature – time outdoors in a positive way; screen time in a negative way. As youth enter their teenage years, their screen time tends to increase and connectedness to nature decrease.

Characteristics associated with high and low levels of ecological literacy in a western society 
Pitman, Daniels & Sutton – International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology
Adults in Western countries with high levels of ecological literacy report nature as being very important in both their childhood and current households. They also consider time outdoors as extremely important to their enjoyment of life.

Childhoodnature Pedagogies and Place: An Overview and Analysis
RB Stevenson, G Mannion, N Evans – Research Handbook on Childhoodnature
This chapter explores childhoodnature from a pedagogical perspective of place, beginning with an overview of the conceptual foundations of and distinctions between place-based education and place-responsive and place-conscious pedagogy. We then examine recently emergent post-human and new materialist ontologies and pedagogies for their contributions to new understandings of and approaches to childhoodnature connections.

Relational values about nature in protected area research
A De Vos, CB Joana, R Dirk – Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Protected areas are increasingly expected to justify their existence in terms of their importance to society. However, this importance, and the complex ways in which people relate to protected areas, cannot be captured by instrumental and intrinsic value framings alone. Rather, our understanding of the role of protected areas in society needs to take account of people’s relational values about nature. Here we review the literature on values associated with human-nature connection and related concepts to highlight which approaches are currently being used to understand expressions of relational values in empirical protected area research. Our results highlights seven ‘application domains’ for relational values research, highlighting expressions of relational values, and the stakeholder focus of each. Place-focused and psychological theories were most common across these domains.

The Seven Pathways to Nature Connectedness: A Focus Group Exploration
R Lumber, M Richardson, D Sheffield – European Journal of Ecopsychology
Three focus groups were conducted using the Biophilia hypothesis as a framework to explore how connectedness to nature can be achieved from the perspective of individuals who engage with nature through the Biophilic values. Seven themes emerged from the thematic analysis: investigating nature through scientific enquiry, engaging the senses, creating idyllic nature, noting nature through artistry, nature conservation, growing food and engaging with wild nature. Nature connectedness may result from specific interactions with nature with the seven pathways having implications for both the formation and maintenance of nature connectedness.

The post Strategic Research Network for Learning in Natural Environments appeared first on UK NAEE.

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