Outdoor Learning

The aim of the Outdoor Learning Priority is to have people of all ages regularly interacting with Devon’s natural environment as an integral part of learning that takes place through life. Much of this work is carried out through the Network of Environmental Educators in Devon, a group of people who facilitate environmental education through a range of means across the county.

Network of Environmental Educators in Devon

Education for Sustainability has a long heritage in Devon with the establishment of a Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group (DESWG) over 25 years ago. More recently this has evolved into the Network of Environmental Educators in Devon (NEED) which continues this work through a large and diverse network of practitioners including local government, schools, further and higher education institutions, NGOs and local communities. All are committed to developing environmental awareness, stewardship and learning for sustainability within the formal and informal education sectors. The group meets regularly at venues around the county to share good practice and work on joint projects. The group currently acts as a network for everyone involved in education and outdoor learning. If you would like to find out more about joining in and attending meetings, please get involved by emailing the Chair (see below)

NEED Vision

  • Everyone, everywhere accessing the outdoors to learn and care about Devon’s nature.

Leads and contacts

  • Board lead and NEED Chair:  Lucy Mottram.
  • Working Group:  Ben Totterdell, ENPA

What is the NEED approach?

Children learning to light fires, work in the garden and playing in a stream NEED is committed to the principle of education being a transformative and socially critical process.  It takes the leading role in Devon in advising local authorities and supporting teachers and others to recognise the importance of environmental education and sustainability as a mechanism for lifelong learning, school improvement and personal empowerment. We carry out this work through our Network and Steering Group.

The role of the Network

A platform to offer support, facilitate discussion and share information and best practice between practitioners involved in outdoor, environmental and sustainability education across Devon whilst offering an opportunity to receive information disseminated from the LNP board and industry specialists.

Children pond dipping

The role of the Steering group

Support the continued growth of the Network for Environmental Educators in Devon through guiding the activity of the network to align with the common purpose of the LNP while seeking greater incorporation of outdoor learning and sustainability and environmental education across the other LNP priorities.

 

 

We are working to achieve our vision through the following aims:

Experience – Provide a lifetime of equitable access to outdoor learning for all

Connect – Support learning and experiences that connect people to their local environment

Care – Create generations of globally aware citizens that want to play their part in nature recovery.

Act – Developing an environmentally literate population who enact sustainable ecological and regenerative changes for a resilient future for Devon.

NEED seeks to provide a coherent and co-ordinated framework of support across Devon for helping all achieve environmental awareness and sustainability development work.

Environmental Education for all ages

 

People in a meadow looking at the purple flowersAnyone can get outside and learn more about nature and sustainability in Devon. If you are interested in specific species like butterflies, bats or badgers; lichens, trees or wild flowers, there is a group to help you learn more. Learn from experience by volunteering with practical conservation tasks. Learn from the experts on a specialist course or help out and collect valuable data  with a citizen science project. This page will help point learners of all ages and inclinations in the right direction.

 

Two school children smiling at the camera covered in mud Resources for schools

Taking your pupils outside to learn might seem daunting but there are lots of resources and organisations to help ease the process and make curriculum links clearer. This page highlights NEED members as well as useful national resources.

 

 

School children smiling with a new bug hotel

The evidence for Outdoor Learning

A wealth of evidence exists on the benefits of taking learning outdoors. It can be useful for the reflective teacher / practitioner to develop what they do but also to persuade others and justify why it makes sense for children, young people and adults to make use of natural environments for learning. This page contains links to key studies and collections of research articles on the wide ranging benefits of Outdoor Learning.

 

Meeting dates

Subscribe to get invites to our next meetings

Who are our members?

Find out about Environmental Educators near you.

Map of Devon with blue dots locating each of the outdoor learning providers