RSPB Cymru and Aldi help over 10,000 children get closer to nature in Swansea

Eleri Wynne

Thursday 28 September 2017

I ddarllen y datganiad yma yng Nghymraeg cliciwch yma os gwelwch yn dda

In the last two years, RSPB Cymru’s Giving Nature a Home in Swansea project, in partnership with Aldi, has been busy engaging over 10,000 children with nature across the city.

Thanks to proceeds from Aldi’s UK carrier bag sales, Giving Nature a Home in Swansea has provided free outreach sessions to over half of Swansea’s primary schools, engaging 7,836 children with nature. The project has also helped 2,465 children enjoy their own wild adventure through free family events, helping communities get closer to the wildlife on their doorstep. 

RSPB Cymru Education, Families and Youth Manager, Jon Gruffydd, said: “Children will always remember their first discoveries with nature - from the thrill of finding a blitz of bugs under a rock to spotting a family of starlings furiously flying around in search of their next meal. 

“The crisp days, beautiful natural colours and returning wildlife make autumn a great time to get outside and discover nature’s treasures. We know from past research that children aren’t spending the same amount of time in nature as their parents and grandparents did, and this is something we want to change. With the positive impact nature has on children’s learning, physical health and emotional wellbeing it is more important than ever that we are helping young people to experience, learn and value the natural world. Nature is an adventure waiting to be had and we’re excited to be working all across Swansea to encourage children and families to get out, get busy and get wild.”

Since it began in autumn 2015, the RSPB’s Connecting Children with Nature partnership – a £2m project funded by discount supermarket Aldi – has helped 240,000 children in Wales, England, and Scotland to explore the outdoors, learn new skills and try something different. 

In Swansea, the funding has allowed RSPB Cymru staff and volunteers to deliver free 90-minute nature experience sessions to 7,836 children in over 40 primary schools in the city. The partnership’s outreach sessions give pupils the opportunity to swap the classroom for the great outdoors to see how they can help wildlife in their school grounds. The funding has also allowed 2,465 children to enjoy free family friendly activities via its Wild Parks initiative, where families can enjoy anything from bug hunts and pond dipping to wildlife safaris and rock pooling.

Oliver King, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility at Aldi UK, said: “Aldi is proud to partner with the RSPB to bring essential opportunities to young people in their local environment. I joined a Giving Nature a Home session at a local school and witnessed the passion of the RSPB staff and volunteers in helping the children gain confidence from the outdoor experience.

“It’s rewarding to see the scale of what we’ve achieved together and the vital contribution the partnership has made in helping so many young people learn more, value and experience the wonders of nature.”

To help children and their families embark on their own wild adventure at home, the partnership recently launched its Wild Challenge initiative. Consisting of 24 activities, from minibeast safaris and rock pooling to creating a hedgehog café and planting for wildlife, the challenge takes families from their own back garden to exploring towns, cities, woodlands and even the coast. So far, 44,000 Wild Challenge actions have been taken in gardens and communities across the UK, with 2,656 in Wales. 

By 2018, over half-a-million children across the UK will have benefited from the Connecting Children with Nature partnership. With autumn being one of the most exciting times of the year for nature, RSPB Cymru is encouraging children, parents and grandparents to get outside and under some wild wonders, including going on a fungi foray, building a hedgehog café or investigating the leaves and seeds that have started to fall from the trees.

For some ideas on exciting activities to do outdoors or to start your own Wild Challenge adventure with your family, visit www.rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge

Last Updated: Thursday 28 September 2017

Tagged with: Topic: 2017 Topic: Wales