People across Wales connect with nature as Outdoor Learning Week returns
Written by Gavin on 24th March 2022
Next week (28 March-3 April) sees the return of Wales Outdoor Learning Week.
First held in 2019, the Week was established by NRW in partnership with the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning to encourage and inspire teachers, learning groups and families across Wales to embed outdoor learning within school and family life and reap its many benefits.
The theme this year is nature, and people from all corners of Wales are encouraged to take part – be that through attending one of the organised events or simply by taking a walk in their local woodland, a toddle along a beach, or a stretch in the park.
Clare Pillman, NRW Chief Executive said:
“Evidence shows that connecting with nature is good for us. It is also good for the environment because it encourages lifelong positive behaviours.
“Outdoor learning has become increasingly important over the last few years, especially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has made us all more aware than ever of how important it is to spend time outdoors and to nurture our connection with nature.
“It is widely recognised for its significant health and well-being benefits and is advocated by the Welsh Government as a key pedagogical approach to delivering the new Curriculum for Wales.
“Wales Outdoor Learning Week is a fantastic opportunity to showcase all the excellent outdoor learning opportunities for schools and educational settings, as well as for families and the wider public – whatever your age.”
Throughout the Week, NRW and Wales Council for Outdoor Learning will jointly deliver activities and events across Wales. The ambition will be to to help people connect with nature, as well as to inspire teachers, learning groups and families across Wales to embed learning in, learning about and learning for, the natural environment within school and family life.
Wales Council for Outdoor Learning members are among those looking forward to a busy and activity-packed week.
Siân Lewis, Yr Urdd Chief Executive said:
“Through our outdoors service and the Urdd Residential Centres we offer unique opportunities for children and young people to enjoy a wide range of enjoyable outdoor activities to develop their confidence.
“Wales Outdoor Learning Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the wide range of activities and experiences available for young people with Yr Urdd through the medium of Welsh.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) will also be joining the celebrations. Throughout the Week they will be showcasing the variety and breadth of activities young people can take part in, not just through their expeditions but also through volunteering and skills development.
Stephanie Price, DofE Wales said:
“Whether it’s an adventurous activity, an environmental project or a pond dipping session, connecting with nature and the natural environment through outdoor learning can really have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of young people. There’s never been a more important time to celebrate the fantastic work of all of Wales outdoor learning providers.”
Catherine Mealing-Jones, Chief Executive of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority added:
“We’re delighted to be taking part in this year’s Outdoor Learning Week. Our education team are delivering a vibrant programme of activity, including geocaching, tree measuring, bog walks, den building and orienteering. Engaging children from all backgrounds with the outdoors is a key part of our work at the national park; it is vital to protecting the future of our natural world.”
Meanwhile, Anita Daimond from Antur Natur will be taking pupils out learning about trees, bats and food chains. She said: “I’ll also be holding a training event for teachers and educators ‘Using woodlands for teaching science and developing numeracy and oracy skills’ in partnership with the Celtic Rainforest Project Wales and the North Wales Wildlife Trust.”
For the full programme of events and activities, go to www.walescouncilforoutdoorlearning.org