Nurturing the next generation of nature adventurers

Posted on 28th May 2012

Three of the UK’s largest nature organisations will today join forces to inspire a new generation of nature-loving Scouts from across the UK.

The Cub Scout Naturalist Activity Badge pack will launch at the Natural History Museum’s Big Nature Day on Sunday 27 May. This new suite of resources has been created by the Natural History Museum, The Wildlife Trusts and the National Trust to help Scout volunteers to deliver exciting programmes in a flexible way.

Emily Peters, Cub Scout aged 9 from 4th Enfield Scout Group, said,”I have tried out lots of activities in the Cub Scout’s activity pack and the Naturalist Badge has helped me learn about nature all around me. I have found out about plants and animals that I didn’t know existed near where I live”

Lucy Carter from The Natural History Museum said of the new resource pack, “It’s really exciting for us to work with The Wildlife Trusts and National Trust to get young people outdoors exploring nature and discovering the incredible variety of plants, animals and fungi right on their doorstep. The resource pack sets Cub Scouts on the road to becoming naturalists and shows them how to take part in surveys that help our scientists with real research.”

Available online from Sunday 27 May, the resource pack offers many challenges to bring Cub Scouts closer to nature, whether in an urban or rural setting. The activities will transform Cubs into bug hunters, bird detectives and tree trackers, getting them out into gardens, parks, and nature reserves managed by The Wildlife Trusts and the National Trust. To earn the Badge, Cubs must complete three tasks from a choice of six, including:
• Surveying a local hedgerow to find out which plants and animals live there
• Making a bird feeder to put in their garden then recording which birds visit the garden
• Taking part in a pond dip to identify the different pond invertebrates.

Cub Scouts will also need to monitor the quality of their local environment using resources developed through the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) programme, an England-wide initiative that has already helped more than half a million people to explore their local green spaces and learn more about UK wildlife.

Nigel Doar, Head of Development for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “A century after naturalist Charles Rothschild started the organisation now known as The Wildlife Trusts, we’re delighted to be supporting the new Cub Scout Naturalist Activity Badge. Whether people realise it or not, nature is at the roots of our wealth, health and wellbeing, and it’s a source of personal fulfilment, artistic inspiration and spiritual enlightenment. It’s loads of fun, too. Cubs working to earn their Naturalist Badge will be able to get outdoors, to get muddy and wet, and create their own adventures exploring the natural world for themselves. If they enjoy nature as Cubs and come to value it, then it will give them a lifetime of pleasure. The more people that recognise the value of nature to them in future, the better for all of us.”

Philip Broadbent Yale from the National Trust added: “The Trust is very pleased to be supporting this Badge. It is a wonderful way for young people to discover more about the outdoors and experience nature first-hand. We hope it will inspire them to explore open spaces around them, including the many areas of coast and countryside cared for by the National Trust.”

ENDS

Notes to editor

1. The Natural History Museum www.nhm.ac.uk
As well as being a top tourist attraction, the Natural History Museum is a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world, with groundbreaking projects in more than 70 countries.
2. The Wildlife Trusts www.wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. 2012 is The Wildlife Trusts’ centenary year and we are marking it in a variety of ways including launching a new series of events to bring people closer to wildlife. To find out more visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/100.
3. National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk/
The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/
4. Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) www.OPALexplorenature.org
OPAL is a nation-wide partnership initiative that will inspire communities to discover, enjoy and protect their local environments. It aims to create a new generation of nature-lovers by stimulating interest through local and national projects which are accessible, fun and relevant to anyone who wants to take part.
5. The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme was launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. The programme funds a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers markets, to education projects teaching people about the environment. Imperial College London (the leading OPAL partner) was awarded a £11,760,783 Changing Spaces grant in August 2007. Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

About Scouting

• The Scout Association was founded on 1 August 1907.
• Adventure is at the core of Scouting, and the Association passionately believes in helping their members fulfil their full physical, intellectual social and spiritual potentials by working in teams, learning by doing and thinking for themselves.
• Over 200 activities are offered by Scouting around the UK, made possible by the efforts of 90,000 voluntary adult leaders. This has helped make Scouting the largest co-educational youth Movement in the country.
• One of the challenges that the Scout Movement faces is finding more volunteers to plug the current gap. At present there are 33,500 young people on waiting lists as more and more young people want to experience the adventure of Scouting.
• Studies have shown Scout Leaders contribute the equivalent of 37 million hours voluntary work every year which is the equivalent of £380 million pounds worth of unpaid youth work. The number of volunteers working for Scouting is bigger than the combined workforces of the BBC (24,000) and McDonalds (67,000) put together.
• Worldwide, Scouting has 30 million members both male and female and operates in nearly every country in the world.