Natural History Museum to lead new Department for Education partnership in England

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© Trustees of the Natural History Museum

The National History Museum will be working with the Department for Education to lead a new partnership to establish a National Education Nature Park and climate action awards scheme. 

The project aims to give every young person in England opportunities to develop a meaningful connection to nature, understand the concepts of climate change and biodiversity loss and feel able to do something about it. 

The partnership, led by the Natural History Museum, working with the Royal Horticultural Society, the Royal Society, Royal Geographical Society, Learning through Landscapes, Manchester Metropolitan University and additional supporting partners, will work with the education sector to help them to map, manage and enhance all the land across the education estate, creating one, vast, nature park. This will play an important part in increasing biodiversity across the education estate and have a real impact on halting the decline of nature in England.

The National Education Nature Park will engage children, young people and their educators with nature, supporting young people in England to play a driving role in mapping and monitoring biodiversity on their grounds using citizen science and, critically, taking action to enhance it. Students will manage their green space like a National Park, taking on leadership roles such as managers, ecologists, communicators, fundraisers, grounds people and data analysts.

From creating pollinator-friendly habitats, to digging ponds, or creating planting schemes that support climate resilience, students will enhance biodiversity in their Nature Park and local community. With England’s primary and secondary schools covering an area twice the size of Birmingham, this is an opportunity to empower young people to make a real difference by creating environments across the country where nature thrives.

A new climate action award scheme will recognise the work being undertaken in schools and colleges to protect green spaces and promote biodiversity. It will support teachers to develop their pupils’ skills and knowledge in biodiversity and sustainability further and celebrate their achievements. Schools may choose to undertake a practical project such as increasing the biodiversity of a piece of land or working in partnership with a local scientist or industry leader, in a project, to investigate a climate issue. It will act as a demonstration that those children and young people have developed skills and knowledge about climate change and sustainability that will benefit their future studies and careers. 

Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum said: 

“We applaud the Department for Education’s initiative in encouraging a love for nature and are absolutely delighted to be the lead partner on the National Education Nature Park.   Biodiversity loss is as catastrophic as climate change and our own research has shown the UK to be one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. 

Combatting biodiversity loss by supporting students in England to transform their education space for wildlife will be a significant step in addressing the planetary emergency as well as empowering young people to take action, connect with nature and become Advocates for the Planet.” 

The Museum will also create an online hub where a wealth of curated and quality assured information and teaching resources will be easily accessible to teachers to support them in delivering climate education across the curriculum and help them bring lessons outdoors, improving pupils’ mental and physical wellbeing.

The National Education Nature Park formed part of plans, announced at COP26, detailing how the UK education sector is to become a world leader in climate change by 2030. 

You can find out more about the project at https://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/national-impact/national-education-nature-park-and-climate-action-awards-scheme.html

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