Big Nature has worked with Dorothy Stringer School to develop embedded biodiversity education across the curriculum. In September 2016 they were able to offer Year 7s an new Environmental Science course as part of their studies.
Making use of the wide range of resources available in the school grounds that Big Nature has helped develop and the expertise of dedicated staff, the students follow an experiential programme of study that connects the students with the natural world in a meaningful way.
The programme covers ecosystem services, ecological footprints, pond exploration and biodiversity monitoring, tree identification and creation of dichotomous keys, seed dispersal collection and planting, tree planting, food preservation, recycling art work, bird identification/watching, gardening, renewable energy, climate change, ecological succession, wildlife management and conservation, wildflower/butterfly/bee identification.
History and context of this course: Dorothy Stringer School has held the Eco Schools Green Flag since 2000, connecting with and caring for the environment are an integral part of the school ethos. For 10 years they taught the GCSE Environmental Science course, sadly the government discontinued the GCSE in this subject with the last students taking the exam in 2017. In partnership with Big Nature they built up a lot of resources over this time and developed the school grounds to enable their use for a range of educational purposes. The large pond with decking, managed coppiced woodland, unmanaged woodland and butterfly havens all provide wonderful examples how nature can flourish if given the opportunity.
In a world where environmental issues are becoming more acute we feel it is essential that the next generation have a direct connection with the natural world so that they become stakeholders and feel empowered to contribute to the decisions that are made about the world we all live in.
This is because, in the words of Sir David Attenborough: “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”