Pupils explore nature and environment at Herts Uni

Outdoor education for school pupils at the University of Hertfordshire.

Outdoor education for school pupils at the University of Hertfordshire. - Credit: Uni of Herts

Schoolchildren from across the county were welcomed to a day of outdoor learning at the University of Hertfordshire.

The event, at the Bayfordbury Campus on Lower Hatfield Road, was designed to get youngsters out of the classroom and into nature, encouraging them to better understand and enjoy the natural world they find around them, and learn about the ways we can all take action to protect our planet in the current climate emergency.

The free pop-up outdoor education centre was led by students and staff from the Outdoor Environmental Education postgraduate degree, which trains future educators and leaders in how to put the environment at the centre of learning as we tackle the climate crisis.

Outdoor education for school pupils at the University of Hertfordshire.

Outdoor education for school pupils at the University of Hertfordshire. - Credit: Uni of Herts

Activities included pond dipping for aquatic life, building shelters, bioblitz (a way of finding out what wildlife is housed on plants and trees), planting shoots to feed humans and pollinators, storytelling, sensory walks, making natural paints and pigments, photo safaris, map-making and much more.

Programme leader Lewis Stockwell explained why the university believes it important to open up opportunities to everyone: “We all know that action needs to be taken to protect the planet from more harm, and a vital part of that will be educating people from a young age about how to really understand and value our natural world.

Outdoor education for school pupils at the University of Hertfordshire.

Outdoor education for school pupils at the University of Hertfordshire. - Credit: Uni of Herts

"But experiences of nature vary hugely amongst young people – too often, spending time in nature is seen as the preserve of the privileged, for those who can afford to travel, take holidays, and get involved in expensive outdoor activities with high-priced kit.

“Actually, the environment isn’t a holiday destination or adventure playground for a few people to enjoy – it can be found on every street corner, in cities just as much as rural areas. It is everyone’s to appreciate, and everyone’s responsibility to look after.

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“That’s why our approach to outdoor education is as inclusive as possible, to help everyone to re-prioritise the environment as we tackle this climate emergency. That’s why we do what we do, and it’s what makes us unique. And that is why it’s so important to offer opportunities like our outdoor education centre for free to schools in the region.”