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Wildlife TV Presenter celebrates wild education with Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Wednesday 4th October 2017

Cheshire Wildlife Trust were delighted to welcome wildlife TV presenter, Nick Baker, to their ‘Wild Warrington’ Forest School at Moore Nature Reserve this week.

Children from St Bridget's Catholic Primary School were thrilled when Nick, who is best known for his roles in the BBC’s Really Wild Show and more recently for his appearances on Springwatch and Autumnwatch’s Unsprung series, led them in their mini-beast hunting activity.

The Trust’s Forest School gives children the opportunity to experience a ‘Wild Curriculum’. Survival skills are gained through making dens and learning how to select the right wood to create fires, followed by some cookery involving toasting marshmallows over an open fire. Science is covered through learning how to identify trees and the role they play in supporting wildlife, and the arts are not forgotten through creating art using natural materials and through interpreting insect behaviours through mime and dance.

“A school day can provide an excellent opportunity for children to get outdoors and interact with nature,” said Jan Shone, People and Wildlife Team Leader at Cheshire Wildlife Trust. “Studies have shown that children with easy access to nature are more able to cope with stress in life. Certainly we have seen through our work with schools that our sessions develop children’s confidence and can even lead to increased concentration when they are back in the classroom.”

The growing gap between children’s disconnection with nature is well-documented. A survey carried out by The Wildlife Trusts in 2015 showed that 78% of parents are concerned that children don’t spend enough time interacting with nature and wildlife and that fewer than 10% of children currently play in natural areas.

Nick Baker’s visit formed part of a week-long tour of Wildlife Trust projects across the England which are being supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. All the projects showcase a range of innovative approaches to outdoor learning in schools, encouraging children to get out of the classroom into nature.

“We work with 5000 children across Cheshire each year, giving them opportunities to learn more about nature,” explained Jan Shone. “Nature needs to become a more central part of school life, and our Forest School is one way this can be achieved. We were delighted that the support of the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery has meant that we are able to expand our projects into Warrington. We hope that Nick’s visits across the UK will help to show that there’s no one way to do outdoor learning. Schools can use time outdoors to teach maths, English and PE – and the children enjoy it too.”

Nick is visiting projects in Devon, Cheshire, Sheffield and Warwickshire as part of his tour, taking part in a whole host of outdoor education ideas. He is sharing his experiences on Twitter using the hashtag #everychildwild

Nick Baker said: “It is so important to get children connecting with nature on a regular basis, it’s been proven to have both mental and physical benefits as well as improving confidence and self-awareness.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery said: “Our players will be thrilled that their support helps thousands of children across England engage with nature at an intimate level, it is so important to get out there and learn the hands-on way.”