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It’s been an education

Posted: Wednesday 7th December 2016 by DevonWildlifeTrust

Emily with children from an exeter school

For the past year it’s been Emily Bacon’s job to make every Devon child she’s met just a little bit more wild! Here she explains why the task means so much to her.

For the past 12 months I have been undertaking a year-long placement as an education and community engagement trainee with Devon Wildlife Trust. It’s given me the opportunity to share my passion for wildlife whilst gaining immense experience connecting both adults and children alike to nature. It has also enabled me to gain and develop new skills along the way. 

The majority of my time has been spent aiding Devon Wildlife Trust’s Education Officer Paul Martin, where we deliver environmental outreach in local schools. From bird watching, to bug hunting, rock-pooling to helping students improve their school grounds for nature; name just a few of the fantastic nature inspiring activities that I have helped carry out.

‘I’ve been teaching Devon’s children how to light their own fires and how to use a saw – safely!’

Whilst on the traineeship I have also had the opportunity to become a qualified forest school leader. ‘Forest School’ if you have not already heard, is a recent initiative to engage children in the outdoor environment, encouraging them to play, respect and learn from it. I have already been able to apply my newly gained skills whilst out and about with the Trust; teaching children how to light their own fires and how to use a saw - safely!

In fast changing world it is essential to keep children (and adults!) in touch with nature. Being outdoors has many proven benefits such as those to health, social and emotional well-being. Simply getting children outside in their wellies encourages a natural curiosity enabling them to start learning about the natural world for themselves.

‘Seeing a child face their fears to seeing them excited at identifying a tree has been greatly satisfying’

To witness first-hand the positive effects nature can bring has been greatly satisfying. From seeing a child face their fears holding a tiny critter to the excitement gained from identifying a tree correctly. Not only is this connection to nature great for their own well-being but it is essential for the future of our environment, and who knows how many little minds I have inspired to become future conservationists?

Working with Devon Wildlife Trust has been an enjoyable experience which has not only allowed me to share my passion with like-minded colleagues but has also has enabled me to gain the expertise needed to become an education officer. As my time with Devon Wildlife Trust soon ends, I will feel sad to leave such a fantastic organisation. However, I now look forward to using my gained skills in a future career continuing to inspire others about nature.

Emily Bacon is one of four Skills for the Future trainees currently working for Devon Wildlife Trust. These posts are supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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