Schools go wild for nature

Credit: Penny Dixie

Nature Friendly Schools has had a momentous first year with 31 primary schools across Birmingham and the Black Country being accepted onto the programme.

Our Senior Education Officer Nicky Willner is leading the mission to bring outdoor learning to some of the most disadvantaged pupils in the country, and the impact is already starting to be felt in the first cycle of participating schools.

After spending time getting to know the teachers, pupils and grounds, our education team has created bespoke local resource packs, run hands-on staff training sessions and co-designed school development plans.

With the provision of risk assessments, lesson plans and learning resources, the programme is helping teachers to see the learning resource they have outside their classroom and is giving them confidence to take lessons outdoors.

NFS map

Enhancement work on school grounds has begun, including the creation of ponds, renovation of outdoor seating areas and installation of various nest-boxes and other habitats to help the children connect with their local wildlife. 

Even schools with relatively small outdoor spaces have been able to make improvements to aid 
outdoor learning, and others will be making more use of local nature reserves within walking distance. 

Every school will also be receiving wellies, waterproofs and a trail camera to help capture footage of their visiting wildlife.

The lockdown has inevitably delayed the completion of the summer term’s programme, but teachers are telling us how implementing Nature Friendly Schools and making use of their outdoor spaces is more important than ever for the health and well-being of both pupils and staff . With three more years of the programme to go, we are looking forward to helping thousands more schoolchildren connect with the nature on their doorstep. Schools across the country are embracing the challenge to embed outdoor learning in their daily life.

If you are involved with a local school and would like the Wildlife Trust to help you to do the same there, please get in touch with gareth.m@bbcwildlife.org.uk.