Learning and schools
Educating young people is seen as one of the most important ways of influencing how our wetlands may be managed in the future – what children learn at school directly influences how they go on to lead their adult lives.
Much of our work is done with schools, delivering structured educational activities, which may or may not form part of the recognised school syllabus. Working with schools can be challenging, and teachers need to be convinced of the importance of the environment as part of their course work.
Many links can be made from different areas of teaching to the natural environment. For example, history of wetland drainage and management, art using nature as inspiration, science (biology, chemistry, physics), and even performing arts.
It is also important to remember that we all carry on learning into our adult lives, and outside of the formal education system. We work with families, the general public and communities to deliver education, through non-formal education activities. You may like to visit WWT’s Learn pages, which are packed full of useful information and activities for all ages of school children.
Below are just a few of the resources that might help you run a range of educational activities – we will be adding to this as members send in more resources.
Primary school (under 12 yrs old)
WWT’s learn site gives you a a range of teaching resources aimed at primary school children, including stories, sounds and games. WWF Hong Kong have produced a climate change game called STEP aimed at primary school children. At Lake Biwa they have a range of resources including a puppet show with puppets of wetland animals – including a really cool Daphnia puppet (see left!)
For teaching plans and other resources, Ducks Unlimited Canada have a great resources page, including lesson plans, facts on wetlands, video footage and information for farmers and landowners. The International Crane Foundation have a good site for resources for educators, as well as for students. Also, see the Earth Day, 22nd April, website which has educational materials and ideas, and there is a lesson plan based on water from the same website.
Cornell Bird Lab has also produced resources around bird-watching and science as part of their Bird Sleuth programme.
The Children and Nature Network in the US was created to restore the link between the natural environment and children’s wellbeing. The Australian Government has also produced a website on discovering wetlands, with school resources, games and even origami creatures. Manly environment centre (Australia) also has a good schools resources page, wild about wetlands.
Secondary school (12-16 years old)
Check out the Green Teacher site, with it’s interactive flipping magazine. MedWet also has a schools page showing the activities that they have done with young people, with videos, games and activities. WWT has recently developed a SuDS (Sustainable Drainage) project for schools, with materials, for both secondary and primary schools. You can see more at specific schools from the project here.
Adult and non-formal education (18 years old +)
The RSPB (a UK bird conservation NGO) has produced a CD with games called ‘Wild and Wonderful’ based on habitats, migration and bird species, available for £10 sterling from email@example.com, check the RSPB resources page for more info. Suitable for adults and children. Charges may be waived for partners in developing countries. The CD includes versions with no text that can be adapted for your own language / situation.
You can also do courses on weltand management with UNESCO, who run a distance learning course on many aspects of wetlands and water management. The Ramsar CEPA panel has produced a guide to CEPA activities on site, useful as an introduction to site managers.