Volunteers’ Week: Learning Team help over 1,600 NI schoolchildren connect with nature

It’s Volunteers’ Week, and we’re celebrating the achievements of our Learning Team at Castle Espie, made possible by amazing support from volunteers!

Through Generation Wild, a project spearheaded by WWT, 15,474 nature activities have been completed by children across Northern Ireland who traditionally have fewer opportunities to make meaningful connections with nature.

1, 694 children have heard the magical story of Ava, half-girl, half-bird, and completed Ava’s nature connection activities at home, such as building a bird nest, making a bug hotel and gazing at stars in the night-sky. 863 children have even become fully fledged ‘Guardians of the Wild’ by completing these activities.

Group of school children listening to a puppet show with Generation Wild's Ava character.

Learning Manager at Castle Espie, John McCullough said:

Through Generation Wild, we’ve worked with 45 schools across Northern Ireland, helping connect schoolchildren and their families with nature. It’s a joy to see so many children be inspired by the natural world and develop an interest in local wildlife.

As well as the brilliant work of the Learning Assistants, volunteers are a big part of the success of Generation Wild at Castle Espie. They regularly give their time to help encourage the next generation of nature lovers, and we are all hugely grateful to them.

5 volunteers standing in a row behind John and Generation Wild Ava character puppet.

Volunteers Suzanne, Sharon, Heather, Sandra & Joan with Learning Manager John and Generation Wild's Ava.

Across the UK, 100,000 nature connection activities have been completed by schoolchildren as part of Generation Wild.

The team are also celebrating a recent award win for the Generation Wild project, for the Best Contribution Towards Transforming Nature Connection by the Outdoor Recreation Network (ORN), a network organisation spanning the UK and Ireland which shares best practice and research on public engagement with the outdoors.

A massive congratulations to the whole Learning Team at Castle Espie for their part in this fantastic achievement for WWT. And a huge thank you to our Learning Volunteers for their invaluable support which made it possible!

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