The deadline for features in the latest CJS Focus on Environmental Education & Outdoor Activities is May 1st.   You can secure free space in this CJS publication in association with the Countryside Education Trust.  Its readership, estimated at 100,000, is involved in countryside, environmental & wildlife conservation across the UK; many work in environmental education on the ground, this issue will also be promoted to the wider public tasked with educating children at home during the lockdown.  Send details to CJS; there is more info here.  You can read previous Focus publications here.

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Thursday’s Climate Action webinar on the environmental impacts of COVID-19 is sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA).  A panel of global health, climate and environment experts will share insights into how this crisis will impact climate change.  ESA satellite technologies play a critical role in aiding governments make informed, data-driven decision on how to rebuild a more sustainable world.

The webinar is on Thursday April 30th  1500 to 1630 BST.  You can sign up here.

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Last week, schools, colleges and young (and old) activists across the UK joined the UK’s first online youth climate conference, organised by Robert Ferguson Primary School, in partnership with Transform our World.  The event “provided a chance for students and teachers to dive into our planet’s most pressing climate issues, offering grassroots suggestions on how we can avoid ecological collapse and looking at what we as individuals can do to help”.

Videos from the event, of the speakers and the Q&A sessions, can be found here.  The summit was chaired by NAEE Fellow Graham Frost, head of Robert Ferguson Primary school.  ∫∫∫

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Ahead of the youth climate conference, the organisers asked teachers to collate their students’ questions, aspirations, demands and ideas which were discussed in the breakout sessions.  Specifically, students were asked to consider these questions:

  • What is nature doing for you?
  • What are you doing for nature?

A range of responses have been captured in this video.  ∫∫∫

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Teach the Future has announced its plans for the future.  There are three main elements:

  1. Extend Teach the Future to the whole of the UK with the aim that all four nations announce their support of its 6 asks in the lead up to COP26, allowing the UK to become a pioneering nation on climate education.

  2. Influence the text on climate education towards TtF’s asks in the COP26 Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) review

  3. Campaign to get climate education on all countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  This would further the link between carbon reduction and education and accentuate the need for adequate education on the climate crisis as a key element of climate action.  ∫∫∫

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Geographical has a mapping section to its website which uses maps to display data about a range of subjects ranging from malnutrition to water security.  Its latest maps focus on the spread and impact of COVID-19.  You’ll find them here.  ∫∫∫

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Connecting classrooms through global learning is a no-cost facilitated on-line CPD programme from the British Council and UKAid.  The organisers say that it is aligned with current education priorities across UK and with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  The organisers say that this will:

– “support you to think about, plan for, and implement, Learning for Equity and Sustainability in your own practice and in your teaching context, whether ELC, school or college.

– connect you with other educators from across UK and give you access to an international network of like-minded educators.  Click here to find out more and to sign up for the programme.”

Meanwhile, a second wave of locusts is about to hit Africa’s poorest people as they try to recover from an infestation that was considered the worst in a generation.  The UN has described the situation as extremely alarming.  As the Times reported, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya were especially hard hit by the first giant swarms, which started in January and laid waste to crops throughout the region.  It now reports that the second wave is likely to be up to 20 times larger, thanks to abundant spring rain and ideal breeding conditions.  ∫∫∫

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City Nature Challenge is a global citizen science project to collect information about local wildlife.  This weekend Bristol and Bath are collaborating with 200+ cities across the world to find and record as much wildlife as possible.  You can find out more at here.  Too take part, simply download the iNaturalist app and use it to upload photos of any wildlife you see from your windows, gardens and during your daily outdoor exercise.  You don’t have to be an expert, as the app will give you some handy suggestions of what it thinks you’ve seen and you can join the iNaturalist online community to learn more about the wildlife around you.  Best of all, the records you submit will help inform local and national conservation work.  ∫∫∫

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Wild in the City has released series 2 of Black Nature Narratives.  This features African conservationists talking about indigenous traditional ecological knowledge, colonialism, the imposition of western conservation models and environmental issues effecting local communities.   You can listen to the podcast on  SoundCloud, on their  website or on  Spotify.  Click here to listen to series 1.  ∫∫∫

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School pollution is trebled by parents driving children to school according to recent research published by the University of Surrey in the journal Science of the Total Environment.  The researchers found that if a playground was close to a main road this meant that it had high fine particle levels at key times in the school day.  Professor Prashant Kumar, co-author of the study, said that many schools  “have characteristics that will mean that children are exposed to hotspots of air pollution in school premises.  We have found that the use of cars during the school run is increasing the number of dangerous particles our children breath in.”

The Times quoted Neil Lewin, headteacher of St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary school in Guildford, where the monitoring was conducted, said: “We need to find practical but effective ways to reduce this exposure to air pollution in our school environment.”

The study found pollution was much higher during the morning drop-off at school than the afternoon pick-up.  They said this was partly due to parents parking farther away in the afternoon.  The authors recommended that schools provide safe off-site parking drop-off points to reduce air pollution.  ∫∫∫

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The Economist Education Foundation has a 60 minute activity on World Earth Day that aims to help students to develop the skills of reasoning and speaking up.

And last weeks climate update from The Economist itself has a feature of World Earth Day.  It begins like this:

This Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, when an estimated 20m Americans—one-tenth of the population at the time—took to the streets to demonstrate against environmental degradation. The remarkable turnout prompted a suite of bipartisan legislation, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Earth Day is also credited with the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

There are also features on oil, drought and the Great Barrier Reef.

And if it’s a bit of history to World Earth Day you’re interested in, click on this New York Times feature. ∫∫∫

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Our Chair of Trustees posted a blog on the Teach the Future website last week.  Titled, “Are we making progress?” he asked how well how young people are being prepared by the education system for the challenges they will face because of global heating, climate change and the ecological crisis.  You can read his conclusions here.  ∫∫∫

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There is to be a virtual Schools COP26 in the autumn term, even though COP26 itself won’t be happening.  We’ll bring you news when it’s available.  ∫∫∫

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Finally, NAEE received the sad news this week that Anne Kenrick one of our Vice-Presidents has died.  Ann was a tremendous and enthusiastic supporter of NAEE over a long period.  In 2012, she and her husband Hugh donated substantial funds that allow us to provide the Kenrick bursaries for schools, and she encouraged her friends to donate additional sums.  All this has been of invaluable assistance to us.  She and her family will be long remembered with love and gratitude.  ∫∫∫