University of Hull academics from the Faculty of Education and The Faculty of Science and Engineering have come together to assist national conservation charity Froglife to demonstrate the difference its fieldwork makes.
Froglife has a long and successful track record of helping children and young people gain confidence and develop a range of social skills through learning about conservation, nature and the environment. The children, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, are often referred to the charity from schools and social services who recognise the impact that learning and playing in the outdoors can offer them. However, it is not always easy to communicate this success.
Ally Dunhill, Associate Dean Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Education said: “We are taking an inter-disciplinary approach to helping Froglife find a robust way of being able to demonstrate the positive impact their work is having on the learning and development of children and young people. We are working on new ways to collect and evaluate data as well as tracking the impact working with Froglife has on the children’s attitudes towards conservation and environmental issues over time.
“I have spent many years researching the benefits to children of learning in the outdoors and promoting Forest Schools and other outdoor learning opportunities and I’m delighted to work with Froglife so that more children can gain from what they offer.”
Prof Graham Scott, Associate Dean Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Science and Engineering added: “Field-based learning has many advantages for the development of a range of skills. At the University of Hull we place great emphasis on the value of field work for our own students and our trainee teachers. As a biologist and active researcher, it is an area I am particularly keen to explore further.
“The outcome of the project will benefit all the partners. Froglife will be in a better place to be able to demonstrate to future funders and other parties, the value of their work and as academic researchers, we are gaining valuable insight into field-based learning.”
Katy Wormald, CEO of Froglife said: “Policy makers are starting to understand the importance to people’s health and mental wellbeing of being outdoors and working with nature. As a wildlife conservation charity we want to ensure that we create more high quality green spaces for people to enjoy. To do that it is important to be able to have tangible evidence of the value that this can bring. By working with the University of Hull we will be in a much stronger position to provide the evidence that funders, partners and other third parties are looking for.”