Outdoor experience kit boxes will help connect more children to nature. Photo credit: Daniel Wildey
Written by Claire Barlow
It is widely recognized that the outdoors can be a major asset for physical and mental health. Yet many children fail to reap the benefits of the natural environment.
In 2012, the National Trust’s Natural Child report found that less than one in 10 children regularly played in wilderness areas, compared to half of young people just a generation ago. Fast forward to the Covid pandemic and there is concern that even more children will reap the benefits of the outdoors.
The Peak District National Park Foundation, based in Bakewell, Derbyshire, is helping close this gap by raising funds for the purchase of essential equipment for children to experience and learn more about the outdoors.
It supports the Peak District National Park Authority’s Ambassador Schools program, which will engage 10 schools in urban areas surrounding the national park.
The Ambassador Schools will be supported by rangers and volunteers from the Peak District, who will help them learn more about the National Park and visit this beautiful outdoor playground on their doorstep.
The Foundation aims to provide each Ambassador school with an outdoor experience kit box, filled with goodies to help connect children to nature. The boxes will remain with the schools to be a long term legacy of their program membership.
The boxes will include items such as magnifying glasses, insect boxes, landing nets, ID cards and den building kits.
Each box costs just Â£ 200. The Foundation aims to raise Â£ 2,000 to provide 10 schools in and around the national park with a long-term resource to help children develop a love of nature that will last a lifetime.
Rachael Lyon, Head of the Engagement Team, said: âThe program encourages schools to go out and discover the special qualities of their own terrain or region.
“Outdoor experience kit boxes will provide young people with much-needed specialized equipment so they can really explore like a national park ranger. Hopefully they will encourage young people to appreciate, care for and be proud of the Peak District National Park and promote the benefits of outdoor learning and connecting with nature for all.
Claire Barlow of the Peak District National Park Foundation adds: âThe engagement of young people in the natural environment is an integral part of the national park’s Covid recovery plan, especially since there are concerns about the impact of repetitive periods of confinement on the mental health of young people. We ask the public to consider a small donation to help us give children the tools they need to connect with nature.
Can you donate today to help give a child the gift of nature?
Every penny will help us reach our goal of Â£ 2,000 to help children in towns around the Peak District National Park experience the joy of nature.
To donate today, visit – https://www.peakdistrictfoundation.org.uk/ambassador-schools/ or Text “Donate peak 28” to 88802 to donate the amount of your choice.
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