The Natural History Museum is inviting schools across the UK to join its exciting new education programme, Explore: Urban Nature, part of the Museum’s Urban Nature Project, which will provide the next generation with the skills to engage with and protect urban nature.
Leading a coalition of museums and wildlife organisations, the Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project will create an urban nature movement through a UK-wide learning programme for young people, families and schools. A key strand of the project, Explore: Urban Nature, delivered in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, will provide school children aged 9-14 with exciting opportunities to dig into what urban nature is, what it does, how it’s changing, and what they can do to support it.
Director of the Natural History Museum, Doug Gurr says: “When people talk about nature, they often imagine remote wilderness or rolling countryside but there is a fantastic diversity of life in towns and cities. The Natural History Museum is on a mission to create advocates for the planet, and we know that once young people are inspired to engage with the biodiversity around them, they are far more likely to want to want to protect and enhance it.”
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, lead partner for Explore: Urban Nature adds: “Our Trustees are committed to the natural world at this critical time and Explore: Urban Nature has the potential to be transformative. We hope it will help thousands of teachers ignite a passion for the nature on their doorsteps and thousands of students across the UK form a lifelong connection with the environment – at a time when it has never been more vital to the future of our planet.”
Over the next three years Explore: Urban Nature will involve museums from around the UK connecting teachers and students with their local environment, allowing them to become local experts and kick-starting a conversation about the importance of urban nature and biodiversity. The programme will include teacher training to help develop practical skills for outdoor STEM investigations into urban nature as well as hands-on outdoor museum workshops where students can investigate challenges facing nature in urban areas.
Throughout the three-year programme, museum partners from the Real World Science network will share resources to help students get outdoors, observe nature and ask their own scientific questions. The organisations partnering with the Natural History Museum are:
- RSPB: Giving Nature a Home in Glasgow in partnership with Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
- Great North Museum, Newcastle
- Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
- Birmingham Museums Trust
- Leeds Museums and Galleries
- Wollaton Hall (Nottingham City Museums and Galleries)
- Peterborough Museum (City Culture Peterborough)
- National Museum Northern Ireland
- Dorset Museum
- Stoke-on-Trent Museums
Natural History Museum ‘Tree-Health’ Competition
To celebrate the official launch of Explore: Urban Nature, schools across the country will take the first steps to observe and monitor the nature closest to home as part of a competition this September. Participating classes will have the opportunity to complete a health check of a local tree looking for evidence of common pests and diseases, using a step-by-step guide provided by the Natural History Museum. Teachers can then submit their students’ observations online and be in with a chance of winning a virtual Q&A session with a Natural History Museum scientist and an exclusive goody bag from the Museum’s gift shop.
It’s easy to get started, and teachers can complete the free tree health check with their classes in around 15 minutes, using the checks as a tool to explore the importance of trees to urban environments close to their school and be part of the urban nature movement.
Sign up to the newsletter and enter the tree health competition before 1 October 2021 by visiting www.nhm.ac.uk/schools/explore-urban-nature