Network of Environmental Educators in Devon (NEED)

Education for Sustainability has a long heritage in Devon with the establishment of a Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group (DESWG) over 25 years ago. NEED continues this work through a large and diverse network 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 within the formal and informal education sectors. The group meets regularly at venues around the county to share good practice and work on joint projects. If you would like to find out more about joining in and attending meetings, please do get involved by emailing the Chair Lucy Mottram.

Meeting dates

11th September 2020 Minutes from meeting
15th January 2021 Minutes from meeting
23rd April 2021 Minutes from meeting

Who are our members?

Find out who can help you access the outdoors and learn more about sustainability in Devon.

What is our approach?
deswg activities 4

SOLID is committed to the principle of education being a transformative and socially critical process.  It takes the leading role in Devon in advising local authorities and supporting teachers and others to recognise the importance of environmental education and sustainability as a mechanism for lifelong learning, school improvement and personal empowerment.  In this context the group sees education for sustainability as a process which: 

deswg activities


Promotes understanding of local to global diversity  –  it enables people to understand the interdependence of all life on the planet and the repercussions that their actions and decisions may have both now and in the future on resources, on the global community as well as their local one; and on the physical and human environment.

Develops understanding of sustainable change – it increases people’s awareness of the economic, political, social, cultural, technological and environmental forces which foster or impede sustainable development.

Fosters active local and global citizenship – it develops people’s awareness, competence, attitudes and values enabling them to engage with deswg activities 2sustainable development strategies and plans at local, national and international levels; assisting them to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future.

Enables local school action – it provides children and young people, teachers, governors and the wider school community the confidence and ability to undertake activity which minimises the institution’s negative environmental, social and economic impacts.

SOLID seeks to provide a coherent and co-ordinated
framework of support across Devon for helping all achieve environmental awareness and sustainability development work.


To be added…

Recent Highlights

  • Outdoor Learning and Sustainability Conference, Buckfast Abbey, 2019 This event for teachers and outdoor educators brought together a host of practitioners from Devon and beyond to share their skills and ideas. The theme was improving outcomes in literacy and language from EYFS to year 6. We are proud to have hosted Jackie Morris, illustrator of ‘The Lost Words’ along with Eva John, writer of the writer of the John Muir Explorer’s Guide to the Lost Words.
  • The two year Naturally Healthy Devon Schools project took place in in North, and East Devon. The project extended the work of Natural Connections, investigating the benefits of learning in natural environments with an additional focus on the health benefits that this can provide.
  • The Growing Devon’s Schools partnership exists to support teachers in the development and delivery of outdoor experiential curriculum that builds skills, environmental awareness, a lifelong healthy relationship with food and an understanding of its production and preparation.
  • Natural Connections project ran from 2012- 2016. It is one of the largest outdoor learning projects to have taken place in the UK. The project also published a useful guide on Key Lessons for Transforming Outdoor Learning in Schools
  • Living with a Changing Coast (LiCCo) project.