Above: Outdoor experience kit boxes will help connect more children to nature ⓒ Daniel Wildey
It’s widely acknowledged that experiencing the outdoors can be a major boost to physical and mental health. Yet many children are missing out on the benefits of the natural environment.
Back in 2012, the National Trust’s Natural Child report found that less than one in 10 children regularly played in wild spaces, compared to half of youngsters just a generation ago. Fast forward to the Covid pandemic and there are concerns that even more children are missing out on the benefits of the outdoors.
The Peak District National Park Foundation is helping to address this gap by raising funds for vital equipment for children to experience and learn more about the outdoors.
It is supporting the Peak District National Park Authority’s Ambassador Schools scheme, which will engage 10 schools in the urban areas surrounding the National Park.
Ambassador schools will be supported by Peak District rangers and volunteers, who will help them to learn about the National Park and to visit this wonderful outdoor play area on their doorstep.
The Foundation aims to provide each Ambassador school with an outdoor experience kit box, packed full of goodies to help connect kids to nature. The boxes will stay with the schools to be a long-term legacy of their membership of the scheme.
Boxes will include items such as magnifying glasses, bug boxes, dipping nets, identification charts and den building kits.
Each box costs just £200. The Foundation is aiming to raise £2,000 to provide 10 schools in and around the National Park with a long-term resource to help the children develop a love of nature that will last a lifetime.
Rachael Lyon, Engagement Team Manager said: “The scheme encourages schools to get outdoors and discover the special qualities of their own grounds or their local area.
“The outdoor experience kit boxes will provide much-needed specialist equipment for young people to really explore like a National Park ranger. Hopefully they will encourage young people to enjoy, care for and take pride in the Peak District National Park and promote the benefits of outdoor learning and connection to nature for all.”
Claire Barlow, from the Peak District National Park Foundation adds: “The engagement of young people in the natural environment is an integral part of the National Park’s Covid-recovery plan, especially given the concern around the impact of repetitive periods of lockdown on young people’s mental health. We are asking the public to consider a small donation to help us give kids the tools they need to connect to nature.”
Can you donate today to help give a child the gift of nature?
Every penny will help us towards our target of £2,000 to help children in cities surrounding the Peak District National Park the chance to experience the joy of nature.
To donate today visit – https://www.peakdistrictfoundation.org.uk/ambassador-schools/ or Text ‘Donate peak 28’ to 88802 to give the amount of your choice.