Land Trust Annual Review - Education

18th December 2018

Green spaces are great places to learn about nature, the environment and for promoting life skills. At the Land Trust we are committed to creating spaces that can become outdoor learning and training venues and resources to connect people with nature.

The last 12 months have been very successful with 8,000 people taking part in education activities on our sites.

However we recognise that there is significantly more that we can achieve and our commitment to this charitable objective was recognised with the launch of our new education strategy.

The ambition of this strategy is to increase the amount of time young people spend outdoors, giving them the opportunity to learn new skills, develop academically, enhance their future prospects and make a difference in the community.

Why did we need a new strategy?

The time currently spent outdoors by children is worryingly low and it was these statistics, combined with a crisis in childhood obesity that encouraged the Land Trust to act.

Alan Carter, director of portfolio management for the Land Trust, explains more:

“The Land Trust has been delivering educational activities on our sites since its inception but this strategy is about developing that offer further and making a real difference in the communities who live and work close to our sites. We are also aware that some children learn far more and deliver better academic work outdoors than in a traditional classroom.

“This desire is set against a backdrop of rising childhood obesity levels, decreasing childhood mental health and a worrying lack of time spent by children and young people in the natural environment.

“It is reported that three quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates while a fifth of children do not play outside at all on an average day. These findings are completely unacceptable and if they are allowed to remain unchanged we risk generations of people missing out on enjoying time outside and the physical and mental health benefits that brings.”

How are we going to achieve this?

Over the next three years we will have a strategic focus on developing relationships with schools and nurseries within walking distance of our spaces.

We have invested in six new outdoor learning areas across our sites at Wellesley Woodlands, Bewsey, Kiveton, Old Hall, Silverdale and Hassall Green, while also training rangers and teachers as forest school practitioners, to enhance the variety of activity on our sites.

We are also working with an external body called Nature-Nurture to produce an education pack for use by local schools near our site at Davy Down, which will be further developed to provide a learning pack that can be distributed to schools across the country.

Education Site of the Year

Elba Park is a site playing a lead role in our education work and was awarded Land Trust Education Site of the Year after delivering activities to nearly 1,000 school children over the last 12 months.

Based in Sunderland the team at Elba have built excellent working relationships with local schools which has seen children enjoy activities such as geocaching, pond dipping, meadow sweeps, crafts, surveys and identification, bulb and tree planting and heritage activities.

Students from Portland Academy, a school for young people with special educational needs and disability, attend weekly sessions at the site with post-16 students undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh award.

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