Our Lifelong Learning programme encourages behaviour change. At its core behaviour change is replacing a negative behaviour with a more positive one. Through a varied offering of activities which bring people closer to the wildlife around us, we hope that we can inspire learners of all ages to bring about the change needed for the future.
With the academic year resuming this month, many teachers, parents and carers will be thinking about what changes they can make to their learning programmes to inform and empower young learners. Our school programme focuses on equipping younger learners with the knowledge and skills they need to deal with our changing world, and to play their part in protecting our natural environment. The ability to recognise species, understand indicators of changes, and envision a future where wildlife thrives are key elements of our current learning sessions for KS1 to KS3. In an education system where drastic changes are needed to highlight the importance of environmental issues, it has been encouraging to work with local schools this year who have been so enthusiastic about getting their students and staff outdoors more often.
Whilst the younger generation will play a key role in protecting the environment for the future, it is crucial that adult learners look at ways in which we can change too. After all, we are the decision makers of today.
Our walks and talks provide expert insight into the history and ecology of the environments we manage, opening space for discussion about how to conserve them for the future. In our busy lives, it can be difficult to find the time to stop, observe, research, and understand all that is around us. By highlighting the more elusive ecological components, such as bats, fungi, and the cultural history of the land, we aim to make it easier for people to find relevant local information. A deeper understanding of human influence can help us conceive how we can leave a positive environmental legacy.
Each holiday break we offer opportunities for families to learn together. Whilst these events always have an environmental focus, they are equally a chance for parents and carers to relax, socialise, and enjoy seeing their young ones having safe outdoor fun. Engaging with the natural environment in enjoyable and creative ways can stimulate young peoples’ imaginations and ability to solve complex problems – crucial skills to deal with our changing future.
Lifelong learning can ensure that we are in control of the ways we can change and adapt our communities for the future. By instilling a sense of place and creating a community of like-minded, environmentally conscious people we can ensure that positive behaviours become the norm going forward. Learning can happen in school, in a woods, by a pond, in a playground. It can be a fact, a skill, an experience, or simply an enjoyable interaction with another person. And when it comes to protecting the environment for the future, outdoor learning offers truly unique opportunities.
Change is inevitable. We can accept this, or we can be inspired by it. The next time you hear about all that change, think – what can I change? How can I be the change I want to see?