NAEE has published its obituary on Vice-President Anne Kenrick whose personal vision and benevolence gave rise to the Association’s Hugh Kenrick Bursary Scheme.  This is her abiding legacy.  Written by Executive Director Nina Hatch, the obituary charts the development of Anne’s interests in the natural world and environmental education, and her links with NAEE.  ∫∫∫

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CJS, the Countryside Jobs Service, has just published a focus on environmental education and outdoor activities.  This sets out accounts of the work of a wide variety of organisations, including NAEE, and is downloadable.  ∫∫∫

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Zamzam Ibrahim (NUS President) and Joe Bindle (Teach the Future) have written to Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, urging him to propose investment into net-zero schools as part of the government’s fiscal stimulus plan.  ∫∫∫

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In its Schools Brief, the Economist has published the third of 6 articles on the climate.  These will be valuable reminders to those of us who’ve been following these events for 40 years or more, and a sobering story for those relative new to our failed attempts to curb CO2 emissions.  We think that these articles will be useful for older students studying environmental issues in schools, and for their teachers too.  This Brief focuses on our immense impact on the Earth’s climate and carbon cycle.  This is how it begins:

It is all, in the end, a matter of chemistry.  Carbon dioxide is a form of what chemists call inorganic carbon—a simple molecule that is pretty inert.  Fossil fuels are made of carbon in its organic form—often complex molecules that are far from inert.  Combustion turns these organic complexities into inorganic simplicities: carbon dioxide, water vapour and heat.  Of the energy that people pay for (as opposed to the energy that comes from burning firewood) 34% comes from burning oil, 27% from coal and 24% from gas.  Nuclear power, hydroelectric power and all other renewables combined provide just 15%.  The result of all this fossil fuel use is a modern industrial economy and an annual flow of 9.5bn tonnes of carbon out of the ground and into the atmosphere.  ∫∫∫

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WWT has launched a new home learning hub to help parents teach their primary school aged children key parts of the science curriculum.  New resources, covering different science topics, will be released on Monday each week.  Families will have access to lesson plans, written specifically with this audience in mind, divided up into bite-sized chunks, including an outdoors element for those with access to outdoor space.  These are supported by instructional videos, fun ‘make it’ activities and a quiz to show how much they’ve learnt each week.  ∫∫∫

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The GLOBE Programme [Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment] is an international science and education programme that provides students worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process, and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment.  Its mission is to promote the teaching and learning of science, enhance environmental literacy and stewardship, and promote scientific discovery.  GLOBE is sponsored by NASA with support from the National Science Foundation, and NOAA.  ∫∫∫

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The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) runs the Eco-Schools programme in 68 countries.  Recently, programme has piloted a new curriculum framework for education on circular economy concepts, including teacher training. Using the Eco-Schools seven step framework of project-based learning, this pilot will extend throughout the entire Eco-Schools network. ∫∫∫

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Plantlife says that there is still time to say #notothemow and take part in Every Flower Counts between 23rd and 31st May – and see how many bees your lawn is supporting.  If you are interested in advice for growing wild flowers in your garden, visit Plantlife’s Wildflower Garden website.   ∫∫∫

 

One plant you definitely don’t want in your garden is giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).  This came from the Caucasus in the early 19th century, and can grow to five metres.  It is often found along waterways and in waste land but is now appearing in streets and gardens across the country.  A map published by Plant Tracker, which monitors invasive species, shows that it had spread to most of the country, even as far north as Nairn.  It’s not that the hogweed isn’t attractive (although it’s a matter of taste), it’s that it’s dangerous.  It might not be as bad as a triffid (none in the UK so far), but if you touch it in bright sunlight your skin can not only be painfully blistered, but lasting damage can occur.  Please keep alert.  ∫∫∫

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Meanwhile, there have been calls for a citizens’ army to protect British wildlife and inhibit the arrival of such invasive species.  It’s reported to be being considered by government.  Members of the House of Commons environmental audit committee have called for a Natural Service of over a million volunteers to be set up to tackle the spread of the harmful species such as Australian swamp stonecrop, American Skunk-cabbage, New Zealand Pigmyweed, and the Hottentot-fig.  ∫∫∫

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The Climate Commission has partnered with Nous Group to produce a roadmap providing guidance to UK colleges on how to address the climate crisis.  The April update on the Climate Commission’s work is available here.  ∫∫∫

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Two recently-produced volumes of the Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are now available.  These include:

  • Knowledge Society: The Evolution of the Concept in the Context of Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
  • Numeracy and the Education Value Chain
  • Quality Control in Higher Education
  • Natural Capital and Ecological Ecosystem Services: Methods of Measuring Socio-economic Value of Nature. ∫∫∫