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UNESCO’s Commitment to Biodiversity (Connecting People and Nature for an Inspiring Future) is a new publication that highlights some of UNESCO’s biodiversity-related actions and solutions that have been implemented, along with suggestions for improvement and innovation.  This is how it begins:

“Biodiversity is the living fabric of our planet.  It underpins human wellbeing in the present and in the future, and its rapid decline threatens nature and people alike.  According to reports released in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the main global drivers of biodiversity loss are climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution and urbanisation.  Biodiversity loss implies the reduction and disappearance of species and genetic diversity and the degradation of ecosystems.  It jeopardises nature’s vital contributions to humanity, endangering economies, livelihoods, food security, cultural diversity and quality of life, and constitutes a major threat to global peace and security.  Biodiversity loss also disproportionally affects the most vulnerable exacerbating inequality.”

The report is available here.

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The Red Kite Academy Trust and The Wildlife Trusts are seeking permission to open a primary school in Nuneaton as a Nature Schools with an ethos based on learning about, and in, the natural environment.

With the support of The Wildlife Trusts, Red Kite Academy Trust is applying to the Department for Education to open a new school under the Free School programme.  Nuneaton has been chosen because there is a need for new, good school places and local communities are enthusiastic about our plans for a Nature School. If they are successful, the Nuneaton Nature School could open in September 2022 or 2023.  More details here.

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The Hubbub Foundation says that following the success of its Plastic Fishing trips in London’s docklands, they have created an education kit to bring Plastic Fishing to life in classrooms across the UK.  Designed for primary school children (aged 9-11), the kit contains a teaching guide with lesson plans, a video and activity sheets to raise awareness and educate children on the issue of plastic and litter in our rivers oceans.  The full Plastic Fishing education kit is freely available for teachers to download here.  The supporting video can also be streamed here.

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Click here to read a reflection from Judy Braus, the executive director of NAAEE, on their recent conference and on the past year.  This is how it begins:

As most of us get the chance to take a break and reflect on what we’re thankful for this year, I want to take a moment to thank our incredible network of environmental educators for the work you do to make the world a better place. As the recent tragic fires in California have shown, your work is more important than ever. Just a year ago Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, causing us to cancel our conference for the first time in its history. Our partners at Para la Naturaleza tell us that the rebuilding process will take years. But rebuilding is also an opportunity to make our communities more resilient. From California to the Caribbean, and all across the planet, we can come back smarter and stronger. And environmental education is vitally important in that process.”

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The Festival of Outdoor Learning 2019 takes place next on March 2nd and 3rd at Hollowford Centre, Castleton, in the Hope Valley.  Details here.

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The GA has been been working with Twinkl to produce a key stage 3 resource pack about getting to grips with grid references.  It aims to help students read four-and-six-figure grid references before applying their skills to reading OS maps.  Detail here.

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Butterfly Conservation provides interesting ecological insight into the relationship between Exmoor ponies and butterflies in Sussex.  This is how the feature begins:

“A herd of 15 shaggy Exmoor ponies have been using their healthy appetites to enhance and maintain habitat for a number of different butterflies across Sussex recently.  The ponies have been hard at work in Ashdown Forest and on the South Downs, conserving sites for the Silver-studded Blue and the Silver-spotted Skipper, but now I’ve recruited them to help us with another struggling species – the downland Grayling.

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The UN Environment Programme says that the ozone layer is expected to completely recover from the damage done chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halon gases within 50 years thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol.  The thinning over the Antarctic will take the longest to fix.  Paul Newman of Nasa was reported as saying that two thirds of the ozone layer would have been destroyed by 2065 if nothing had been done.

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Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Climate Challenge Fund have produced an information guide for the general public to explain climate change, how will it affect us all and what we can do to help.  You can download the booklet at Guide to Climate Change.

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The December Learning for Sustainability Scotland bulletin has a feature on Water Explorer which encourages students aged 8-14 from 11 countries to take action to save water.  Whether you’re looking for a way to find out more about water, tackle an SDG, or simply have some fun, you can find out more here.