Wild Education in Lockdown

Helena Dolby for Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust

Helping children to engage with wildlife during the COVID-19 pandemic

After four months of uncertainty in 2020, our Education team finally got back out and into local schools and community groups from August. As you can imagine everything was a little bit different:  teaching from a distance, wearing a mask and washing kit, time and time again, made everything harder and a little more time-consuming.

Our funders, including players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Children in Need, really supported us to make the necessary changes and adaptations. We are so passionate about getting children and their families out in nature that we had to make it work.

Vicky Dunne in a red coat holding up a photograph of berries

Education Manager Vicky Dunne

We have updated our equipment, put up trails in local woodlands and even provided one-to-one sessions to children who have been hit hard by the pandemic. Between August and December, we managed to put everything in place to deliver almost all of the outstanding sessions for 2020. This means that on a skeleton team we delivered 100 sessions before the Christmas holidays.

In addition, we have been trying our hand at virtual learning. We have been filming Nature Tots, Nature Club and Call of the Wild sessions and made these available on our new online Wild About Learning hub.

Visit warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/WildAboutLearning to make the most of this hub of educational resources for schools, youth groups and parents. The hub is for any child who wants to learn more about wildlife and connect with nature!

Education Officer Katie Young at Brandon Marsh

Education Officer Katie Young at Brandon Marsh

“During these times we’ve had to make changes, with keeping our distance and lots and lots of washing, but it’s all worth it to see children get outside and get so enthused about nature. It’s great when children who have had a difficult time take a step away and just engage with the outdoors and it definitely makes me feel a lot happier after spending time outside exploring with a group.”

Katie Young, Education Officer

“It has been a huge change to how, when and where we work. We have been working in smaller groups and making sure that everyone is feeling safe and that we can maintain distance at all times. It has been hard work, but worth it to feel like we can still do our jobs. Getting back out there and teaching children about nature is what we love to do. We are more than happy to do whatever needs doing to make sure we can safely deliver all our sessions.”

Vicky Dunne, Education Manager

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