Campaigning For Environmental Education

 

The ingredients of the curriculum – what goes in and what does not – are being hotly debated at the moment regarding Environmental Education. NAEE is part of this debate, but we need to ensure our advice is ready to roll out, when the Curriculum Reviews are complete.

Here are my thoughts on this debate, I hope it stimulates thought and discussion, and get in touch if you have any comments for us about it.

  • What do we mean by ‘environmental education’?
  • What should ‘environmental education’ look like?
  • How is it similar/different from pure science/geography?
  • How do teachers include it in an already-busy timetable?

We aim to produce a series of key ideas and transform these into short pieces, which will then become part of a NAEE Environmental Education Paper policy with exemplars.

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NAEE is a key player in promoting Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to be part of/a major theme within school curriculum.

As executive member and former EE advisor Sue Fenoughty points out:

“This definitely seems to be the moment when we must act, as in this article from the Guardian, it says there are going to be major changes to science studies under the reforms for the national curriculum with the Science curriculum expected to ’emphasise using the natural habitat around schools – learning biology by studying the growth and development of trees, for example’ – so, in other words, much more emphasis on using the local environment. (environmental education). The article mention that the science curriculum in Japan has at its core the love of nature … and, as we know, you can’t develop a love of nature unless you’ve been out in a natural environment.”

The new programmes of study are being published for consultation this week, and are to be introduced in schools in September 2014, so not far away.

Yes, it’s all ‘up in the air’ and no-one knows where it will end up. And yes, it’s confusing and frustrating in the meantime. But also, yes, NAEE will have some key concrete ideas to present – intelligent responses and exemplars to the questions when they come along.

Henricus Peters, NAEE CoChair

 

Bringing Education to the Jungle

In the 1980s a handful of Bolivian street children were taken on a field trip into the Amazon Basin.  These children were blown away by what they saw – the trees, the flowers, the animals – but also by devastation from farming and illegal logging.  When they saw a spider monkey, malnourished and trapped in a cage, the children rescued the monkey.  Then they began to campaign; eventually they raised enough money to open the first sanctuary for wild animals in Bolivia.  They called it Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, which means sun, moon and stars in Quechua, Aymara and Chiriguano Guarani, symbolising hope for unification between Bolivia’s environment and its people.  Now CIWY runs three refuges in different parts of Bolivia, rescuing exotic animals from captivity, rehabilitating and releasing where possible – where not, offering damaged creatures dignity and respect in environments as wild as possible.

I started working with CIWY in 2007 and, like countless other international volunteers, my experience (including the totally unexpected relationship I formed with a female puma) changed my life.  But CIWY not only takes in animals and raises awareness with their volunteers; they also help underprivileged young Bolivians by providing them with safe homes, educations, the chance to learn about their environment and, ultimately, the chance to make a difference on their own.  CIWY take their work out into local communities, and they are just beginning to bring the jungle into English speaking classrooms.  We have created an educational resource pack that tells the story of CIWY – how it is possible for paws, claws, boots, roots, feathers and tails to live together, in harmony.  If you are interested, please visit www.ciwy.org

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Laura Coleman, CIWY