Connecting schools with nature

The BES is currently running Module 3 of our “Connecting Schools to nature in North-East England” outreach project. 

About the project

Launched in January 2021, the ‘Connecting schools to nature in North-East England’ project is working with over 40 schools and early-career ecologists across the North-East to help inspire both teachers and pupils to engage with the natural world and transform their school grounds into wildlife-friendly havens.  

The response from schools and volunteers so far has been fantastic! Throughout the first two modules, we’ve reached over 1000 pupils through a combination of outdoor workshops, teacher training events, and the delivery of our exciting new digital platform “BES Encounters”. 

Our project goals, including improving access and connection to nature in local schools

Having completed our first two modules on mammals and invertebrates, the team will be delivering Module 3 of our programme throughout Sept.-Dec. 2022, this time with a focus on learning all about UK bird species. We can’t wait to see what our schools get up to – watch this space!  

Keen to join the fun? Read on to find out how you can get involved or download the project brief below for a full overview of the project and the team behind it. 

How to get involved

For Environmental Educators

Our team of volunteer Environmental Educators are central to the project, helping design educational content, as well as communicate the wonders of science and nature through our in-schools workshops.  

“I have gotten so much more out of volunteering than I have put in, it has given me that which defines ecology itself- connection.”

Think this could be you? Register your interest for our last module below!  

Whether you’re an ecology-obsessed undergraduate, outreach-keen PhD or postdoc, hobby natural historian, retiree, or environmental practitioner with an interest in education – we want to hear from you!  

Upon joining the project, the BES will provide all the necessary training as well as a variety of other benefits and opportunities, including:  

  • Personal and group training in the development and delivery of schools outreach, covering topics such as science communication, training with ecological equipment, and practical conservation work
  • Verification of volunteer effort that can contribute to your professional development portfolio e.g. CPD for professionals, logged hours for wider volunteering schemes, or contributions to graduate/PhD portfolios e.g. Researchfish
  • Personalised careers advice on CVs, interviews, and grant-writing
  • Access to exclusive digital training resources in science communication and public engagement
  • The scope and responsibility to design, develop and deliver memorable and inspiring activities for pupils
  • The opportunity to develop a close relationship with your assigned school, teachers, and BES staff with opportunities to tap into subsequent networking opportunities
  • A written letter of recommendation and/or LinkedIn testimonial
  • Option to enrol in free 12 month BES membership for first-time student members
  • Access to wider BES and project opportunities. Previous volunteers have published articles and even exhibited at public events – what might you get up to? 
One of our volunteers leading a sunny bug hunting session at a local primary school

You can read more about what to expect as a volunteer educator in our briefing document below or contact the team @Outreach . Aspiring environmental educators can now sign up to the project via the link below. This portal will close Monday 22nd August. 

ECOLOGISTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATORS: REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE

DOWNLOAD OUR SHORT Project Brief HERE

For Teachers

Looking to bring nature to your school but not sure where to start? Our network of schools have achieved a huge amount in these first two modules of the project and have shown just what’s possible with a bit of time and help! 

 

“This [project] has changed the way our children look after our environment. They are excited to learn and to know more about the natural world.  The equipment has been amazing to use and has enhanced our daily teaching.”

 

  • Teacher trainings 

Our teacher training programme is a core part of the project, providing teachers with the knowledge and confidence to embed ecology and green learning in the classroom. We occasionally open these trainings to wider schools who are not on the project so please do keep a look out here and on our eventbrite for upcoming events. 

  • Digital platform 

The development of a bespoke digital hub (“BES Encounters”) has also been a major milestone in the project. The platform provides schools with a platform to access tailor-made learning materials and resources, connect with other participating schools, and take on the role of citizen scientists to help monitor local wildlife.

  • Module 3  | Birds

We are currently recruiting a small number of additional schools to join us for this last module of the project, running from Sept.-Dec. 2022. Please get in touch with the team @Outreach if you have any questions or are interested in getting involved. 

 

Schools Outreach Day pupils at Ushaw College, Durham

Keep in touch

For updates and opportunities related to the project, sign up here keep in touch via our fortnightly newsletter. If you are interested in submitting an early expression of interest or would like to make a general enquiry, please get in touch with outreach@britishecologicalsociety.org for more information. 

 For wider BES activities, follow us on our Newsletter and social media @BritishEcolSoc or @BES_careers. 

About our Funders

This project is funded by a £248,700 grant provided by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency – you can read more about our funders and the inspiration behind the project via our official announcement page.