From classroom to coastline
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Coastal Explorers will be run by the Trust’s new outdoor learning officer, Jane Godfrey, who was brought up in Fleetwood.
The sessions will be aimed at primary school pupils aged 7-11 and will work initially with those who live in the FY1, FY3 and FY4 postcode areas which have been identified as having high levels of outdoors inactivity among children.
Research has shown that such inactivity can lead to depression, obesity and other related illnesses.
“As soon as you take a young person out of the classroom and into nature, it gives them freedom to learn and express themselves,” said Jane, a former community engagement officer with Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
“Through this project we want to inspire the future guardians of our river and coastal habitats and we can’t wait to see how the project progresses.”
During a series of up to six sessions, the children will learn about the importance of rivers, erosion, wildlife and habitats, water quality, pollution, restoration, conservation and how people use rivers in different ways.
Activities will include nature walks, experiments, collecting water samples, litter picking and tree planting. Visits to the Ribble estuary and Stanley Park are planned too.
The sessions are intended to connect with the curriculum, linking rivers with various subjects including maths and poetry.
The Coastal Explorers programme, which is due to be launched early in the New Year, aims to positively effect the children’s mental and physical wellbeing and encourage green thinking to help protect the environment for future generations.
The project has been part funded by the Ernest Cook Trust, an educational charity founded to help children experience the joys of the outdoors.
“This is a fantastic new project for Ribble Rivers Trust and we’re very grateful to the Ernest Cook Trust for their support,” said Harvey Hamilton-Thorpe, RRT deputy chief executive.
“We’re already in discussion with a number of schools and other potential project partners and we’re keen to link up with other environmental projects in the area.”