Dr. Kelly Ablard and Dr. Jacqui Stringer will be presenting the first ever Airmid Junior Ambassadors with their badges on June 30th at Knowsley School located in North West England! Children’s educational programs that support opportunities for them to connect to Nature has been a focus of Airmid’s since our inception, and further inspired by 2021 The Dasgupta Review, which places a heavy emphasis on children.
“Every child in every country is owed the teaching of natural history, to be introduced to the awe and wonder of the natural world, and to appreciate how it contributes to our lives. Establishing the natural world within educational policy would contribute to countering the shifting baseline, whereby we progressively redefine ourselves as inhabitants of an emptying world and believe that what we see is how it is and how it will continue to be. This shifting baseline has been termed the ‘extinction of experience’ (Pyle, 1993).
Achieving tangible effects, however, is not straightforward. The development and design of environmental education programmes can be directed to overcome the problems. In their wide-ranging survey documenting direct impacts of environmental education, Ardoin, Bowers, and Gaillard (2020) have suggested that focusing on local issues or locally relevant dimensions of broader issues, such as collaborating with scientists, resource managers and community organisations, is of enormous help. Our emphasis in the Review on the role of communities and civil societies in the economics of biodiversity is consonant with that line of thinking.542
But even that would not be enough. Connecting with Nature needs to be woven throughout our lives. The connection has been found to decline from childhood to an overall low in the mid-teens, followed by a steady rise that reaches a plateau lasting the rest of one’s life (Hughes et al. 2019). It is a cruel irony that we surround children with pictures and toys of animals and plants, only to focus subsequently on more conceptual knowledge, marginalising environmental education relative to the wider curriculum.”
The Airmid Junior Ambassador program, founded and currently managed by Airmid Ambassador of the U.K. Dr. Stringer was developed to address these challenges. Educational programs as part of Airmid Institute’s work are also taking root in Taiwan.