UK schools to enjoy safe wetland fun this winter

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Wetlands are essential for all life, including humankind. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) creates and protects wetland habitats to provide water, food and shelter for all of us and our wildlife. We work in the UK and around the world to save species from extinction, and to sustain healthy local communities. Our UK Wetland Centres inspire a million visitors and 50,000 schoolchildren a year to enjoy being close to nature.

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WWT Wetland Centres will open their doors to school pupils from December 1.

Forced to close their doors to such excursions in March, the conservation charity is pleased to be able to once again help children reconnect with nature in a safe and secure environment.

A survey conducted by the charity Young Minds revealed that 80% of children felt that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse. Young people across the UK have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic, having had to adjust to dramatic changes in their education, routines and home life. The positive impact of time spent in natural environments is well documented and a visit to wetlands allows children the time and space to reap the benefits of the wild outdoors.

WWT’s national formal learning manager Mark Stead said:

“We’re so excited to be welcoming schools back to our wetland centres. It hasn’t been the same without them and many of our regular visitors have told us that they’ve missed seeing children learning about the importance of protecting wetlands and their wildlife.

“The last few months have been a challenging time for teachers and we’ve been working hard to ensure that they and their pupils can still have a fantastic time whilst remaining safe on site. It will be great to once again see children’s faces light up as they discover the wonder of wetlands and their wildlife.”

WWT’s curriculum-linked learning sessions make the most of the sprawling open-air environment at the wetland centres and are suitable for a range of ages and abilities. Led by experienced staff, sessions are hands-on, promoting learning through exploration and discovery.

Staff have been spending the last few months putting in place all of the steps necessary to keep school groups and other visitors safe and are now taking bookings. All of the wetland centres have been accredited with the “We’re Good to Go” UK-wide COVID-19 safety standard, which ensures WWT is operating within the relevant government and public health guidance in relation to Coronavirus.

As the current situation remains uncertain, WWT are also guaranteeing that schools can re-book or cancel free of charge should they be unable to visit due to coronavirus.

To find out more, visit WWT’s Learning Zone to find out what’s happening at each centre.

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