A brand new resource pack designed to make learning outdoors easier has been launched by Scotland’s two National Park Authorities and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority (LLTNPA joined forces with SNH to produce the comprehensive guide – Getting INTO Scotland’s National Parks and Nature Reserves. It is aimed at reducing some of the barriers to outdoor learning in Scotland’s special places with information, advice, resources and a host of helpful contacts for teachers, staff and volunteers.
Outdoor learning is a cornerstone of the Scottish Government’s new Curriculum for Excellence and it is very much seen as an opportunity that should be experienced by children in schools across Scotland, especially those who might face barriers to engaging with National Parks or National Nature Reserves.
The pack – which is not just aimed at schools but any type of organisation taking groups outdoors – is based on a formal research project that revealed what gets in the way of people using these areas for learning, for example age, disabilities, financial constraints and so on.
Elspeth Grant, Social Inclusion Officer at the CNPA said: “Whether it’s groups of school children or adult groups, National Parks and National Nature Reserves have a considerable amount to offer in terms of outdoor learning. We therefore want to make planning and organising a learning trip as easy as possible for people. The Resource Pack is a great starting point for teachers or group leaders to help them ensure that they have a successful experience from health and safety information to ideas of what to do.”
Alison Wilkie, Learning Development Adviser at LLTNPA added: “Scotland’s National Parks and National Nature Reserves are inspiring places to visit for individuals or groups, for formal learning or just a great day out. The new Resource Pack will show people just how easy it is to make a trip happen, with useful contacts who can provide support from the planning stages all the way through to the actual day of the visit. We hope examples of how others groups overcame barriers will help more people from a wider range of backgrounds enjoy the National Parks and National Nature Reserves.”
Stuart Davies, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) Stirling-based area officer – projects and strategy, confirmed: “Here in Scotland we are lucky to have such fabulous nature and landscapes. Our National Parks and Nature Reserves are second to none and everyone – particularly children – should have opportunities to enjoy and spend time in these special places. We hope this new guide will help them to do that and inspire teachers and other leaders to make it happen.”
Copies of Getting INTO Scotland’s National Parks and National Nature Reserves are being distributed to schools and organisations across Scotland this month. For more information please contact Elspeth Grant at the CNPA on tel: 01479 870506 or email and Alison Wilkie at LLTNPA tel: 01389 722 125.