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The Eco Explorers project, funded by the British Ecological Society, aimed to: increase awareness and interest in ecology among children and families, through ecology-themed activities; develop the skills and confidence of children, families and community leaders to communicate about ecology; and to inspire families to take their learning forward independently after the project.

Summary

The Eco Explorers project involved running 6 ‘Fundays’ in three areas of England for children and their families to take part in a wide range of interactive ecology-themed activities, as well as receiving a free healthy meal. Trusted and accessible community settings were used for the fundays (e.g. children’s centre) that already run our Holiday Hub programme.

A staff member from Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience provided support in developing the activities and ensuring they were safe, age appropriate and accessible.

Activities were fun, interactive, and focused on different ecology topics, such as:

  • Modes of transport (which are the most efficient? polluting? etc)
  • Different habitats for local wildlife (e.g. how to encourage more animals in to the area, setting up a wildlife area / bug hotel in your garden)
  • Bird watching (e.g. spotting and identifying birds, looking at what to feed them and what not to feed them)
  • Mini beast hunt (e.g. identifying the various types of insects living in the local area)

Feedback

Feedback from children, families and settings was overwhelmingly positive. Comments focused on families’ enjoyment of the activities, the social benefits they gained from attending the fundays, their growing confidence in talking about ecology, and plans to take their learning forward after the sessions.

The project introduced community leaders to new activities, which they will be able to draw on in future sessions. Learning from the project (e.g. ecology activities for families) will be shared across all the Holiday Hub sites to support them to provide ecology-themed activities in their future clubs.

‘[Enjoyed] finding all the trees that were in the book.’

‘The activities were all great and really well organised.’

‘The children loved making the Eco Walk. The children were excited to discuss what bugs they had seen.’

‘It brought us lots of happiness.’

‘It was really nice to be able to socialise outside the house with other families.’

‘I enjoyed the nature walk.’

‘Families have used the outdoor area in the centre and in the local area to look for local wildlife, plants and leaves.’ 

‘We will build this work into our stay, play and learn sessions to ensure all families focus on looking after our local wildlife and reducing pollution.’

Useful links

British Ecological Society

Open University

Some Eco Explorers activities from the project