Getting kids back to nature

Children pond-dipping at a WWT learning session at The London Wetland Centre. Photo: WWT.
Children pond-dipping at a WWT learning session at The London Wetland Centre. Photo: WWT.
Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds will benefit from outdoor learning through WWT’s new ‘Inspiring Generations’ scheme.      
Children from disadvantaged areas will experience nature close up for free during school visits through a £1m scheme provided by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), in partnership with HSBC.

Research shows learning outdoors helps to improve children’s personal, social and emotional development. Yet pupils miss these opportunities because of cost and the lack of specific training for teachers.

HSBC’s support will enable the WWT to provide free lessons to schools outside the classroom. Up to 60,000 pupils will learn curriculum subjects through hands-on activities including pond-dipping and bird-feeding, while benefitting from experience of the natural world. The scheme will also train 300 teachers, and a further 12,000 will gain direct experience in taking learning outdoors.

Martin Spray, WWT Chief Executive, said: “WWT lead the field in outdoor learning. More than 2.2 million children have been on a school trip to a WWT Wetland Centre since the 1940s. Research shows that children benefit physically and emotionally by being close to nature, and nature benefits from children being inspired to care for their environment. We believe that learning outside is a right for every school child, not a luxury. HSBC supports this belief, too, and together we will help make it a reality.”

Antonio Simoes, Head of UK Banks at HSBC, said: “We have partnered with WWT for over a decade. The Inspiring Generations scheme is a fantastic example of how to connect young, disadvantaged people with nature. Through hands-on outdoors education, we will be helping 60,000 young people learn more about the wetlands and the freshwater challenges we face both locally and globally. I am proud that HSBC is supporting this scheme through our community investment programme.”

WWT’s ‘Inspiring Generations’ free school visits scheme is available at eight of the nine Wetland Centres: Arundel Wetland Centre, West Sussex; Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Dumfries and Galloway; Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co Down; London Wetland Centre; Llanelli Wetland Centre, Carmarthenshire; Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire; Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire; and Washington Wetland Centre, Tyne and Wear.

Click here to find out more about WWT’s “Inspiring Generations” free school visits scheme.