The next generation will decide the future of biodiversity so it is essential that understanding and respect for nature is encouraged in children. Teachers are in a unique position in terms of their influence on future generations. Biodiversity is an essential component of environmental education and should be integrated into the national curriculum.
How to help biodiversity at school:
There are many ways that a practical approach to biodiversity can be developed within the school environment.
- Projects incorporating biodiversity can provide valuable learning opportunities in subjects such as maths, geography, art, music, science, design and technology.
- The classroom can also be used to demonstrate good practice for the wider environment: recycle waste and use water and energy wisely.
- Schools grounds and nearby parks can provide outdoor classrooms to explore biodiversity.
- School grounds can be made more wildlife friendly by making a compost heap, bird boxes, a small meadow, an organic garden or planting trees. Creating habitats and homes for wildlife can provide a valuable teaching resource.
A biodiversity guide for teachers was produced by Durham Biodiversity Partnership in 2003 and can be downloaded as a pdf.
Enhancing Wildlife in the School Ground, produced by Gateshead Council, is an excellent guide to developing your school grounds for both educational and wildlife purposes. It provides information that will be useful to both beginners and experts in wildlife gardening for schools. A copy of this is also available to download.
Growing Schools is a government programme which has been designed to support teachers in using the ‘outdoor classroom’ as a resource across the curriculum for pupils of all ages.
Learning through Landscapes helps schools and early years settings make the most of their outdoor spaces for play and learning.
Exploring biodiversity is an interactive introduction to UK biodiversity for parents, teachers and older children.
RSPB has curriculum-based resources to use in and outside the classroom, and welcomes school visits to reserves.
Eco-Schools is an international award programme helping schools integrate environmental initiatives into the curriculum.