Take a look around, how many teenagers do you see on our reserves (or anywhere else for that matter) actively involved in wildlife? Well we need more, many many more so we are launching our new field based training programme aimed at teenagers this autumn with a pilot programme running in Cumbria. A small group of students aged 14 – 16 started in September at the beginning of their academic year and will be involved in the very first trial of our new programme. The aim of the programme is to equip young people with the skills they need to develop and extend their interest in nature, whilst also providing them with the knowledge they need to support their further education and employment within the sector.
The programme consists of a mixture of classroom and field-based activities, and offers a competency based approach to learning, enabling students to work through the scheme at a pace that suits them (and their teacher or mentor). The programme has been designed to be delivered by schools to key stage 4 pupils and would be an ideal activity to participate in after the completion of the Wildlife Action Awards, although it is also designed to engage those who may have limited prior knowledge and experience of nature. It could also be delivered by RSPB Phoenix groups or other youth groups and offers opportunities to get out into the wild and learn about our amazing biodiversity.
The pilot programme currently running in Cumbria is proving very popular with the students involved, it’s already clear they are making progress in developing their observational skills, as well enabling them to form strong connections with nature and the environment.
We hope to reach out to many young people with this new RSPB programme and embrace the possibilities of integrating the natural world with the new technologies our young people use on a daily basis. These are our ornithologists, botanists, naturalists and conservationists of the future, and nature needs them.
The current pilot programme is being run by John Kneale-Jones who is based at Witherslack Hall School in south Cumbria. John has been instrumental in the development of the programme in partnership with us and is now working closely with RSPB Leighton Moss where many of the field activities take place, you can follow him on Twitter @jkj1418 to keep up with the latest developments of the scheme.
This programme is amazing! All the students on the programme love it and there are several more wanting to join. We are out and about every week developing observational skills and connecting with nature. Their enthusiasm is contagious!
If you would like more information about the programme or just want to keep up-to-date with our progress, feel free to contact me by email or follow me on twitter @jkj1418