How the Nature Park works
Become part of a vast network of spaces working together to boost nature in education
Children and young people are leading the way in mapping, monitoring and enhancing their spaces for nature.
Just England's primary and secondary schools alone cover an area roughly twice the size of Birmingham! The Nature Park map visualises the collective difference that everyone's individual actions are making for nature across the country.
The National Education Nature Park programme will provide the support and guidance needed to make this happen, and has broken down the Nature Park journey into five key steps:
You'll find this icon displayed on any resources in our resource library that contribute directly to each of these steps.
Nature Park process
The first step in the Nature Park journey is asking the question, ‘Where are we now?’ –– observing and learning about the environment to begin to understand strengths and opportunities on a school, nursery or college site. This step encourages children and young people to take notice of the land, nature, and features around them, from both a geographical and scientific perspective as well as giving them the space to share their perceptions of their learning site. Try the Getting started or Explore your school site packages - with a ‘whole school’ approach, learners throughout the education setting can contribute their findings, opinions and experiences. Everyone's voice matters!
Data collected in this initial step will contribute towards the big picture of the Nature Park programme, to track the collective difference being made. By taking a closer look and getting to know their space, learners can form a closer relationship with the environment and make informed decisions about what might need to change.
Understanding the local environment means learners can think about what is right for their local context and learning community. After collecting data on what is found within each of their learning sites – from trees and wildflowers to birds and bumblebees, as well as the function and experience of a place – this can be used as evidence to inform the question, ‘Where do we want to be?’
This step introduces why climate action and biodiversity matter – encouraging children and young people to examine what they have found out, what it means for their local environment, and what wildlife and people need to thrive. Children and young people will consider what they’d like their spaces to be like for future generations, using activities such as Points of view and Write a poem to help them do this.
This step is all about using the data collected to make decisions together and carefully consider how they could be carried out. Asking the question, ‘How do we get there?’ this step explores plants and nature as solutions to big issues, empowering children and young people to work collaboratively to solve problems in their local community through creative idea development and communication. The Start planning for nature package of activities will guide you through this step.
By the end of this stage, learners have a project plan for what they want to do, why, and how they will achieve it by getting the support of the whole education setting to work together.
Putting the plan into action! Children and young people will start to take action in their learning site to reach their goals. This might involve planting and growing, habitat creation or improvement, and fundraising and communication campaigns to spread the word and turn ideas into reality. More members of staff, pupils, and other members of the community might need to get involved by working as a team to share skills and knowledge.
Every project needs to be recorded and evaluated – and there are lots of ways to do this. This step is a chance for everyone to step back and ask, ‘What difference have we made?’ and reflect on what has been learned along the way. Has biodiversity improved? Do people enjoy the site more? What has been found out? This is also a great opportunity to share the story of your Nature Park so far with the local community and other members to inspire others and celebrate what has been achieved.