War Gardens in Bushy Park

Project dates: 2019
Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund
Local schools were able to visit Bushy Park for free sessions all about the importance of allotments during the war. the challenges faced with rationing as well as what was grown in allotments and how children could grow their own vegetables.

Tomorrow’s Biodiversity

Project dates: 2013-2017
Funder: Esmee Fairburn
Tomorrow’s Biodiversity helped us to identify gaps in biodiversity monitoring and barriers to widen uptake and participation in biodiversity monitoring. The project helped the FSC to play its part in filling the gaps and overcoming barriers. There was also a one-year extension to the project to help carry the development of digital resources developed during the project, e.g. the ID Framework and the QGIS Plugin, into the BioLinks project.
More information: http://www.fscbiodiversity.uk/tombio

Green Entrepreneurs Europe

Project dates: 2016-2017
Funder: European Union Erasmus+ programme.
GEE was an exciting curriculum-linked funded European project aimed at inspiring KS3 pupils to think like a green entrepreneur because as natural resources become scarcer, young people will need the skills to think green to develop goods and services which conserve the natural world.
It aimed to improve the capacity of schools to teach the key competencies and skills for young people to take an active role in building the green economy and strengthen cooperation between school and the world of work.
More information: http://www.geelearning.eu/

Carpenters Road Lock

Project dates: 2015-2017
Funder: The Canal & River Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, London Legacy Development Corporation and Inland Waterways Association.
As part of the restoration of the Carpenters Road Lock FSC developed and delivered education workshops. focusing on the history and heritage of the lock, surrounding waterways and the future regeneration of the area. Sessions were for school pupils year 4-8 and were free to participate.

Archaeology in Greenwich Park

Project dates: 2014-2016
Funder: The Royal Parks
The Old Keepers Cottage Community Archaeology Project worked to excavate the former ‘Keepers Cottage, a complex of 17th century buildings in the heart of historic Greenwich Park, that were demolished in the 19th century. FSC led a schools project alongside, allowing local schools to become involved in the project, discovering all about archaeology and helping to locate, excavate and discover more about the Old Keepers Cottage. Over 300 pupils took part in 2014 and 2015.

Open Air Laboratories (OPAL)

Project dates: 2009-2016
Funder: Big Lottery Fund
The OPAL network is an exciting initiative that encouraged people to get back in touch with nature by enabling them to explore and study their local environments. Through partnerships nationwide, OPAL ran projects for anyone to get involved with. FSC was a partner.in the project and provided resource packs for national surveys, such as soil quality, air quality, water quality, biodiversity, climate change and ‘the bug hunt’, including new fold-out charts. We also led outreach sessions in schools using the resources.
A later phase of OPAL involved delivering outdoor learning opportunities for secondary school students and teachers in economically deprived parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland which FSC delivered 2014-2016.
More information: https://www.opalexplorenature.org/

Inspiring Learning through Outdoor Science and Geography

Project dates: 2013-2015
Funder: London Schools Excellence Fund
Using the City as a location to inspire teachers, the project provided training and developed resources connected directly to the urban world that teachers’ and pupils’ live in to support accessible, relevant and inspirational learning in biology, chemistry physics, geography. The project worked with 64 teachers from 16 schools across Greenwich and Lewisham in 2013/14 and an 64 teachers from 16 schools in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest in 2014/15. The Mayor of London launched the £24m London Schools Excellence Fund to help drive up standards in schools, as part of his mission to ensure young Londoners have access to the highest quality education.

Real World Learning Network

Project dates: 2013-2015
Funder: EU Lifelong Learning Programme
The Real World Learning Network was established to explore and share successful approaches to Real World Learning through the outdoor classroom that leads to action for sustainable development. It was a consortium of seven partners from six countries across Europe. During the project an additional 56 outdoor learning and education organisations joined the network in this exploration of effective outdoor learning.
More information: Read the final project report


Project dates: 2010-2015
Funder: EU Lifelong Learning Programme
The overall goal of the BEAGLE biodiversity project was to improve the quality of learning outside the classroom and enhance students’ motivation to learn, so that the capacity of people to live sustainable lifestyles and bring about a more sustainable environment is strengthened. To achieve this the partners developed a range of products including a BEAGLE website, teachers guide, identification keys and teacher training.
The website allowed schools to upload observations and compare findings across Europe along with resources such as identification keys to support out of classroom learning, teacher and educational activity concerning biodiversity issues and their links with sustainable development.
More information: http://www.beagleproject.org/en/

Invertebrate Challenge

Project dates: 2011-2014
Funders: The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Jean Jackson Charitable Trust, The Clive Tate Memorial Fund, Shropshire Council and the Field Studies Council.
Invertebrate Challenge aimed to:
• develop volunteer invertebrate recorders who are knowledgeable and confident to accurately record invertebrates
• increase the numbers of invertebrate recorders in Shropshire and the surrounding area
• raise the profile of the role of invertebrates as indicators of healthy bio-diverse habitats
Evidence for this project grew out of Biodiversity Training Project (BTP) which preceeded it. It resulted in a range of resources being developed, see link below.
More information: http://www.fscbiodiversity.uk/invert-challenge

Learning Trails

Project dates: 2014
Funder: London Legacy Development Corporation
The project developed a range of education activities and support materials freely downloadable for schools and other visitors from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park website to enhance the knowledge and understanding of school groups visiting the Park. The learning trails were based around school subjects and curriculum requirements, the resources designed for different key stages and levels. They also formed part of the Park’s wider interpretation and use by other visitors like families, SEN and community groups was considered.

Lessons from Nature

Project dates: 2010-2013
Funder: European Commission, DG “Education and culture” – Lifelong Learning Programme/Comenius
This project was piloted at FSC Epping Forest in 2008. Lessons from Nature presented opportunities to learn through first-hand experience helping to inspire discovery and foster real understanding in relation to insights from nature that can be applied to the modern world. More than 6,000 learners, 600 teachers and 210 schools across Europe were involved with the programme.
More information: http://www.lessonsfromnature.org Project Brochure

Biodiversity Fellows

Project dates: 2013
Funder: Defra Fund for Biodiversity in the Voluntary Sector administered by Natural England.
Our many years of experience showed us that existing biodiversity training courses often attract high numbers of volunteers but these new potential recorders do not always follow through to become active data contributors. Motivation and encouragement of volunteers post training is clearly an issue. Therefore bio.fell offered a different approach. As well as a series of traditional face-to-face training courses it offered a package of supporting resources and mentoring to aid and encourage the transition from enthusiastic volunteer to active recorder. The network of individuals (Bio fells) still have a closed Facebook group.
The Bio.fells project and its legacy played a very important role in the development of the Tomorrow’s Biodiversity project.
More information: https://www.fscbiodiversity.uk/projects/biodiversity-fellows

Vision North West

Project dates: 2012-2013
Funder: Big Lottery Reaching Communities
FSC and Action for Blind People (Action) worked in the North West region of England to provide support for young people aged 14-17 years, who have visual impairments.
It offered the young people the opportunity of three weekends at FSC Castle Head in Cumbria to help develop their skills, challenge their attitudes, build friendships and share coping strategies. Action continued to support these young people over the period of the whole year. The young people worked towards attaining a John Muir Award.

Learning for Biodiversity

Project dates: 2011-2013
Funder: The City Bridge Trust
Delivered by FSC Epping Forest, this project worked to raise awareness of biodiversity in London, and the issues facing it. It also aimed to increase access to education about biodiversity and improve green spaces in London through improving their biodiversity. FSC Epping Forest delivered education sessions for schools, families and adults.
More information: http://www.learningforbiodiversity.org.uk/schools.aspx

Developing the Use of Greenspace by Host Borough Secondary Schools (DUGGS)

Project dates: 2012
Funder: Natural England
Focused on schools in the Host Boroughs, the project aimed to support schools by developing teaching resources, linked to the curriculum and inspired by the Olympic and Paralympic Games, that could be used within local greenspaces such as school grounds, parks or nature reserves. Taught sessions with FSC were led for local schools and teaching resources were available online.

Working with Visually Impaired students in North Wales

Project dates: 2010-2012
Funder: National Lottery
The project gave over 100 young people with visual impairments the opportunity to visit FSC Rhyd y creuau for a residential with three days of activities in Snowdonia National Park. Over the course of the trip the young people had the opportunity to work together to undertake a range of challenging activities in the outdoor environment. Activities included river investigations, mountain walks, climbing, gorge scrambling and team building challenges. FSC worked with Action for Blind on this project.

Vision South West

Project dates: 2010-2012
Funder: Access to Nature Big Lottery Fund
This project worked with over 100 visually impaired young people (aged 8-16 years) from across the South West. It gave them first hand experience of the natural world, increased their understanding of the countryside around them and gave them the confidence to explore new environments. It provides a residential experience at FSC Nettlecombe Court where the young people could explore the environment through practical activities (e.g. stream dipping, small mammal handling, shelter building, and rockpool discovery) as well as developing much needed social skills, self confidence and self esteem.

Discover Epping Forest

Project dates: 2009-2012
Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund
A forward thinking education programme, which was developed in partnership with the four education providers of the Forest: FSC Epping Forest Field Centre, Suntrap Forest Education, Epping Forest Centenary Trust and City of London. FSC Epping Forest worked with Year 5 classes from 25 local primary schools, over 750 school children per year benefited from the experience of outdoor learning. The aim was to introduce pupils and teachers to the Forest as an accessible, exciting place to learn. Children became ‘Forest Guardians’ after taking an active part in all six of the modules and the project also aimed to help the teachers involved gain the confidence to lead groups in the field. 

Mind the Gap

Project dates: 2009-2011
Funder: EU Lifelong Learning Programme
There is a gap between school and real-life, with schools focusing primarily on knowledge outside of contexts that make it relevant to pupils. This project aimed to address this ‘gap’ in the context of sustainable development. Mind the Gap is a consortium of 9 partners, representing 5 EU member states. The Mind the Gap website collated a series of fun, free and curriculum linked activities for teachers to access.
More information: http://www.migaproject.eu/

Schools in the Parks

Project dates: 2008-2011
Funders: Heritage Lottery Fund and Natural England
The Schools in the Parks project supported over 2700 secondary pupils explore open spaces across South East London from 2008 to 2011. The project also supported environmental educators through an innovative professional development programme involving group training days, bespoke 1:1 training and lesson observations. Working with over 60 organisations across London, and 130 individuals, London is now better equipped to support secondary schools use their local parks.
More information: Read project updates

Eco Challenge

Project dates: 2007-2011
Funder: Big Lottery Changing Spaces
The Eco Challenge project was an innovative project which built on a challenging residential experience in remote, rugged and awe inspiring landscapes, to develop opportunities for young people to take part in local environmental projects.
Eco Challenge worked with some of the most disadvantaged schools and communities in England. For thousands of participants this was their first stay away from their home. For some it was a life changing experience.
Eco Challenge key facts
• 6,700 Key Stage 3 (11-14 years) students took part.
• 245 schools from 22 of the lowest performing Local Authorities in England.
• 666 local sessions took place to complete 220 projects.
• 45 local environmental organisations involved.
Eco Challenge Impacts
Over 90% of teachers thought that their students had:
• Achieved an increase in understanding of the environment.
• Improved personal and social development skills including cooperation, communication, self esteem and self confidence.
• Gained a sense of pride for local green spaces.
• An increased awareness of sustainability issues.
Over half of the students:
• Said that Eco Challenge had made a difference to them.
• Used local parks more following Eco Challenge.
• Had more positive behaviour towards environmentally sustainable actions.
The lasting impact on schools
• 15% intended to continue or develop Eco School or Sustainable School awards.
• 19% started an Eco Club as a result of involvement in Eco Challenge.
• 67% extended the Eco Challenge experience within the school community.
• 11% intended to repeat or take another group on a residential –though funding was stated as a barrier to this occurring.
More information: The Eco Challenge report is available to download here

Biodiversity Training Project

Project dates: 2006-2010
Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund
The Biodiversity Training Project aimed to enable, enhance and promote biological recording amongst volunteers in Shropshire and the wider region. The project encouraged people to develop and progress their identification and recording skills, in order to better understand our natural heritage, whilst integrating ideas of sustainability and the bigger picture. Over the entire project some 206 training events were staged, training 849 people and producing around 40,000 biological records.
More information: https://www.fscbiodiversity.uk/projects/biodiversity-training-project

Outdoor Education for Visually Impaired

Project dates: 2005-2010
Funder: Big Lottery Fund
This project was inspired by visually impaired young people expressing their desire to ‘experience the natural world’ so that they could better understand it and take part in conversations and discussions related to the environment, amongst their peers.
A one year pilot in 2005 enabled 64 young people with visual impairments to visit the Welsh seashores and mountains, to build independence and confidence, to spend time away from the familiar environment of home and school and to spend time with other young people with similar disabilities and share coping strategies.
Evidence from the pilot informed and helped FSC gain a Big Lottery Fund grant to support a three year project from 2007-2010 through the People and Places programme. FSC Dale Fort and FSC Rhyd y Creuau delivered the projects.
More information:

New Views: The London Challenge

Project dates: 2005-2008
Funder: Department for Children, Schools and Families
Lower secondary pupils from over 300 of London’s secondary schools attended residentials, leading to positive impacts on personal,social and learning.

‘I did not know that life could be like that . I did not want it to end!’
The quote from a 12 year old on a New Views residential course provides a compelling testament to a ground-breaking project which the FSC led between 2004-2008. During that period the FSC coordinated the provision of DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) funded residential visits for Key Stage 3 (11-14 year old) pupils from all London secondary schools. Working with 10 other providers over 34,000 young people from 310 London secondary schools (75% of the total) attended 850 residential courses at 35 different sites. The availability of funding also enabled a previously excluded group to take part in residentials, the majority for the first time.
Independent evaluation by London University’s Institute of Education, involving over 2000 parents, teachers, senior managers and young people, has shown positive impacts on:
• Attitudes in school and home
• Motivation and engagement with academic learning
• Self confidence and self esteem
• Social awareness and teamwork
• Environmental awareness
More information:
An Executive Summary of the IoE evaluation is available through the link below. An illustrated report, published by the FSC, is also available. This provides many quotes from teachers, parents and students which, as with the IoE report above, demonstrates wide ranging influences.
• Executive Summary. London Challenge Residentials Initiative. Main Phase Evaluation 2005 – 2008. Ruth Amos & Michael Reiss (July 2009)
• New Views. Lessons learned from the London Challenge residential courses. Steve Tilling & Ruth Amos (June 2009)
More information: Executive Summary. London Challenge Residentials Initiative. Main Phase Evaluation 2005 – 2008. Ruth Amos & Michael Reiss (July 2009)
New Views. Lessons learned from the London Challenge residential courses. Steve Tilling & Ruth Amos (June 2009)

Sustainable Schools

Project dates: 2004-2007
FSC Epping Forest delivered the Sustainable Schools Project to primary pupils (aged 8-10 years) from three partner schools in Newham. A total of 514 pupils took part in this Learning for Sustainability project, which introduced participants to the core concepts of sustainability through structured hands-on activities both within Epping Forest and at partner schools. It led to lasting partnerships with the partner schools, as well as informing the development of new programmes at FSC Epping Forest which developed into Discover Epping Forest and Lessons from Nature projects in subsequent years.