Ealing beaver engagement event © Beaver Trust

Major funding awarded to enable the launch of a pioneering multi-year beaver education programme

£250,000 has been awarded to Beaver Trust over three years to launch a multi-year education programme in collaboration with beaver sites and their local schools and communities.

Outreach is a key component of the ongoing restoration of this species, to re-establish beavers in our cultural mindset and encourage a connection with and better understanding of our natural history and local nature.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund connecting young people and communities with nature on their doorstep” said Eva Bishop, Beaver Trust’s Head of Communications. “Beavers offer a thoroughly engaging and cross-curricular lens through which we can engage with the natural world and the cultural reintroduction of beavers is vital to support their physical reintroduction across Britain.”

Young people are growing up in a world facing combined environmental crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. The combination of disconnection and continual exposure to negative stories about the future of the planet has led to a rise in eco-anxiety amongst children and young people, with a report in 2021 revealing only 5% of those interviewed were ‘not worried’ about climate change.

“The ‘child in nature’ is an indicator species in itself, and we need to help tackle the disconnect between humanity and nature,” says Eva.

Children participating in education programmes have been shown to be less anxious and more environmentally active than their peers, with research indicating that students participating in a project that engaged them in positive action for the future had a more hopeful view of the future and their agency in it.

Whilst schools are under pressure to deliver their outcomes, opportunities for high-quality, participatory sessions can not only fulfil school expectations but also play a part in reconnecting students to the natural world, building resilience against environmental anxiety and encouraging participation in a reciprocal relationship with the world around them.

For this programme, beavers, their ecology, and their role in natural processes will be the focal point to generate connection and support for their reintroduction. However, the focus on beavers will also be a springboard for understanding the idea of a human-nature relationship where care for nature becomes a form of self-care, promoting pro-environmental behaviours in participants.

It is hoped that this programme will establish a legacy where participants become supporters of wildlife who make pro-environmental choices into adulthood.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to the National Lottery players – the benefits of this education programme will be profound and far-reaching and we’re looking forward to launching it in 2024,” says Eva.


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