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Finding Nature on the Door Step

14th July 2020

The Lewes based Railway Land Wildlife Trust developed a brand new one-off initiative which it hopes will change the way hundreds of children view their immediate environment.

The Trust’s ‘Schools Outreach Project’, which ran for six months, created a series of wildlife sessions which tapped into the school curriculum to explore wildlife within the grounds of local schools. The hour long activities included looking at habitats for Science, collecting data for Maths and hunting for stories for Literacy.

The sessions were designed to overcome the issues with transport, staffing levels and cost usually incurred by school trips. The Trust’s experts travelled to each school to show the children how to discover nature on their own doorstep without the need to travel.

During the six months the project was running, the Trust worked with more than 300 children in a variety of outdoor spaces.

‘We aimed to deliver imaginative outdoor education sessions that maximized pupils’ direct experiences of nature,’ said the Trust’s Education Officer, Milly Hawkins.

‘We hoped the sessions would serve to remind schools of the benefits of outdoor learning in terms of expanding academic opportunities, improving behaviour and wellbeing, as well as the benefits for nature itself, hoping to encourage schools to prioritise outdoor learning.’

More than 200 pupils took part in the Maths Adventure sessions which were designed to make the subject ‘active, purposeful and fun’.

‘Teachers reported that students were very engaged in their mathematical explorations, and really enjoyed this dynamic style of learning,’ said Milly.

Although the project was a one-off, the Trust is hoping that it will have had a lasting impact on the way schools view outdoor learn and the academic opportunities it can create.