FSC in Partnership with The Wildlife Trusts £6.4 million Project to Connect Children with Nature
As part of a Government boost of £10 million to connect children with nature, The Wildlife Trusts is leading a new and ground-breaking £6.4 million programme – ‘Nature Friendly Schools’ - to bring thousands of children closer to nature.
Field Studies Council is proud to announce they will be involved in this project, working alongside YoungMinds, Groundwork and the Sensory Trust. Teachers will receive training to link outdoor learning to the National Curriculum, students will visit local nature reserves or parks, and have the opportunity to experience wildlife on their doorstep through new nature areas in school grounds.
The four-year project funded by The Department for Education is a partnership involving the Field Studies Council, which inspires environmental education through first-hand experiences on residential courses; YoungMinds which leads the fight for children and young people’s mental health; Groundwork which transforms young people’s lives in the most disadvantaged communities and Sensory Trust, experts in ensuring children with special needs enjoy access to nature.
The programme will work in partnership with over 300 schools in England with the highest proportions of disadvantaged pupils (primary, secondary, special schools and alternative provision), starting this autumn. The programme aims to improve children’s wellbeing and mental health, their care and concern for the environment, and engagement with lessons. Research shows that being outdoors improves happiness, concentration and mental and physical health.
Announcing the Government funded programme at the launch of the Year of Green Action, Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said, “I am delighted to launch the Year of Green Action – an energy injection for the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.” He continued, “As the future stewards of our planet, children and young people have a vital role to play in this. The £10million boost outlined today will help ensure there are no barriers for young people to access the benefits of the natural world and importantly enable them to play their part in environmental protection”.
Mark Castle, Chief Executive of Field Studies Council, commented, “We believe that when people spend time outdoors experiencing nature at first hand, it is good for their health and wellbeing and increases their respect for the natural environment. This exciting project will allow us to use our expertise to help teachers take their students outdoors and experience nature at first hand.”
Commenting on the funding, Lord Blencathra, Natural England’s Deputy Chair, said, “Connecting children with nature is one of the most important things we can do for them. It can boost their health, wellbeing and learning and give them a life-long love of the natural world that leads them to cherish and protect it forever.” He continued, “I hope these projects will ensure that every child has the means of discovering the wonders of our wildlife.”
Friday, February 1, 2019