The British Ecological Society’s project to improve nature connection in schools in County Durham and North East England has been awarded £248,700 of government money from the UK Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
The ‘Connecting schools to nature in North East England‘ project will see the BES, in partnership with citizen science organisation MammalWeb Ltd. and engagement charity SMASH-UK, work with primary school pupils, teachers, and early career ecologists to deliver a green transformation to 50 schools in disadvantaged areas of the North East of England and create the ‘Environmental Educators of tomorrow’.
Six fixed-term jobs and placements in the North East will be created to coordinate the project and training will be delivered to an estimated 350 teachers at the partner schools. On top of this, 50 early career ecologists will be upskilled as ‘Environmental Educators in Residence’, collaborating with teachers to develop practical workshops and deliver biodiversity enhancements to school grounds.
The programme will benefit wildlife through the creation of wildflower areas, hedgehog-highways, bird-feeding stations, nest-boxes and insect ‘hotels’. Pupils will then become citizen scientists, monitoring the wildlife around their schools. Through these activities, the programme will increase young peoples’ connection to nature, with an estimated 10,000 pupils getting involved.
Dr Chris Jeffs, Engagement & Outreach Manager at the British Ecological Society, who will be leading the project said: “A love of and connection with the natural world often starts with an inspiring experience. We want to bring these inspirational moments directly to the school and home environment, opening the wellbeing benefits nature brings to those currently least able to access them. In this project we will provide opportunities for school pupils to really experience nature – and, importantly, to see how small wildlife-friendly interventions can lead to positive changes.”
Posted on: 06 August 2021