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Young people vital to saving the natural world

Young people’s role in saving the 🌍 is crucial, yet their connection to nature is declining.

Three ways to inspire the next generation to protect the natural world

With the school summer holidays upon us it’s the perfect opportunity for British children to enjoy the great outdoors.

However, modern lifestyles mean that the younger generation often have little connection to nature, as our survey of 1,000 UK parents reveals.

Over half of the parents surveyed said their children are spending less than one hour outside a day, despite 82% believing it important for their child to spend time outside.

Furthermore, over a third said their children would benefit from more learning outside the classroom.

So how can we help the next generation discover the natural world and encourage them to help protect and restore it? Here are three ideas as steps in this journey of discovery.

Encourage young Earthwatchers to inspire each other

A quarter of parents surveyed said their children have below average knowledge of the natural world. However, we know that peer relationships are very important and children can be each other’s influencers for good.

Children can help inspire each other to get outside and explore the natural world around them. Our new film competition provides just the opportunity to do that.

Young people aged 14 to 17 can write, direct and even star in their own environmental film. We’ve joined forces with the Wildscreen Festival to launch the first ever Young Earthwatcher Film Competition.

Young Earthwatchers are invited to create a short film based on an environmental topic close to their heart – it could be anything from plastic pollution to habitat degradation, climate change to water quality.

Take learning outside the classroom

Getting hands-on with science and contributing to research that impacts decision-making for the good of the environment can be very rewarding and motivating.

Students can get their first taste of real science through Discover Earth where they collect data that helps scientists to answer key environmental challenges. This includes projects that examine and measure the drivers behind water pollution, and soil health.

Taste real science in school

Outdoor learning may be key to maintaining a lifelong interest in the outdoors and achieving a more sustainable planet. As our survey revealed, parents are keen to see their children benefit from spending more time learning outside.

One solution to help children learn more outdoors is to take teachers outside and let the Earth be their classroom. Working with teachers to help instil confidence in how to take learning outdoors has proved a big leap forward for them and their students.

On our Teach Earth weekends we equip them with the tools and lesson plans to educate children about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whilst reconnecting them to the environment. Taking classes outdoors can help increase awareness of the environment, and bring to life the topics of climate change and sustainability for young people.

For more on outdoor learning and the people involved, see our school report.

Images: John Hunt; iStock/Erik Reis - IKOstudio

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