This theme is led by the Sustainable Outdoor Learning In Devon Working Group (SOLID), a diverse group of practitioners from local government, schools, further and higher education institutions, NGOs to local communities. All are committed to developing environmental awareness, stewardship and learning for sustainability.
Providing opportunities and encouragement for people to interact with Devon’s magnificent natural environment supports learning and enjoyment throughout life and helps to build knowledge, values, skills and understanding. This learning can take place through formal education providers such as schools and colleges. However, equally important are the roles and activities of employers, voluntary organisations, visitor attractions, clubs and families. Interaction with the natural environment contributes to traditional educational achievement but also supports social inclusion, increased employability and personal fulfilment.
Challenges and constraints face the maintenance and development of outdoor lifelong learning:
- Pressures of national tests in schools, which can restrict the availablilty of time for field trips and outdoor activities;
- The isolation of those without a private car and associated cost and limitations of public transport;
- Anxiety about working with children and young people outside of school;
- Lack of knowledge about existing opportunities for both children and adults to learn about the natural environment.
People of all ages regularly interact with Devon’s natural environment as an integral part of learning that takes place through life.
Encourage and where possible work with others to develop new learning opportunities in Devon’s natural environment, including championing field work as an essential part of Devon school and university curricula.
Support and promote existing good practice.