Connecting children to nature
The RSPB has established a clear definition of connection to nature and a method for measuring it and for the first time, this research – reported in Connecting with Nature: connecting-with-nature-report.pdf (rspb.org.uk) reveals how connected to nature children are across the UK. The national results show that currently only 21 per cent of 8–12 year olds have a connection to nature at a level that we consider a realistic and achievable target for all children. While the 2019 State of Nature report: https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/state-of-nature-report/ shows that nature in the UK is disappearing – 60 per cent of species assessed have declined over recent decades. Not only can children take action to help turn this around, but they will also benefit from having more contact with nature. The RSPB also joined forces to form The Wild Network and support its film-led campaign Project Wild Thing reconnecting kids and nature.
From the RSPB – Nature Education | Research – The RSPB
The Wildlife Trusts also commissioned a study by the Institute of Education at University College London (UCL) to evaluate the impact that experiencing nature has upon children. The study focused on over 450 primary school children and the effects of Wildlife Trust-led activities on their wellbeing. This is one of the largest studies into the effects of outdoor activities on children’s wellbeing and views about nature. https://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/benefits-learning-natural-spaces
In Birmingham the The Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust offers services to primary schools https://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/ourwildwork/wilder-schools
Young Green Champions
The Naturally Birmingham project believes everyone has a role to play in putting nature back into childhood – including governments, local authorities, schools, families and many other organisations. We have written this into the City of Nature Plan which was a by the
Birmingham’s parks offer all children, schools and families the perfect opportunity to connect with nature. They provide opportunities to explore how young children can start to help turn around the decline in local wildlife and help stop the wider threats to the planet including climate change.
There are so many ways children can get involved in green spaces but in our Young Green Champions Programme we only want you to do five things:
Connect with Nature
Shout About it!
What are we asking?
We know there are many reasons for us to help young people connect to the natural world around them, a good quality of life, a good education and good mental and physical health.
We want to build a mechanism in Birmingham to encourage and support this, for primary schools we are calling this “Young Green Champions” (children 5 – 11 years old). (With the Little Green Champions programme for children 0-5 years old Little Green Champions – Naturally Birmingham Future Parks Project )
We want children to be able to lead the way by giving them the freedom, knowledge and safe environments they need to be able to make their lives good, better, best.
We want to support teachers and children and families to use parks and green spaces to explore the natural world through just five simple themes. We will provide proposed activities on a monthly basis and create a city-wide alliance of organisations including BCC Park Service, seasonal updates, story sharing digital platform and celebration events.
We are asking teachers and other adults who can connect children with green spaces to join us and our partner organisations to explore, discover, and help to continue to develop this programme together with the children who will become Young Green Champions because we want to make sure it is developed in a way that is inclusive and relevant to all as we start to build a City of Nature that has children and nature in its heart.
Get Moving in May
For May this year we are asking teachers to encourage children to get moving in nature.
May is a great time of year for any budding Young Green Champions to get outside and benefit from all that nature has to offer.
Outdoor Classroom Day is 19th May: https://outdoorclassroomday.com/ so we are asking you to encourage children to start their journey to become Young Green Champions by “Getting Moving in May” and simply doing four things:
Take a walk outside together
Record your walk
Share what you did
You can download a recording sheet here:
Complete your sheet and email it back to us. That’s all there is to it.
We will sent you your certificate and share the details of your walks on our website and on social media to celebrate your class of Young Green Champions – Getting Moving in Nature and encourage others to take part.
In June we will be asking you to “Grow Together”,
September is about Connecting with Nature,
October we will be encouraging everyone to Learn More about nature and climate change.
November is all about Sharing our Stories and celebrating our achievements as we help Birmingham become a City of Nature.
We held a really positive online workshop with teachers from Birmingham schools and you can see a taster of the online training session by watching this short video:
Please let us know if you would be interested in finding out more about Young Green Champions. We are happy to talk to your team at staff meetings or talk to the whole school through an assembly.