Peak District charity issues fundraising appeal for project to help schoolchildren enjoy the outdoors
The Peak District National Park Foundation has launched a fundraising appeal for a new project which will help school children to enjoy the outdoors and learn to care for the environment.
The charity is looking to invest in equipment for the park authority’s Ambassador Schools scheme, which will engage ten schools in urban areas surrounding the Peak District.
Fundraising officer Claire Barlow said: “The engagement of young people in the natural environment is an integral part of the park’s Covid-recovery plan, especially given the concern around the impact of repetitive periods of lockdown on young people’s mental health.
“We are asking people to consider a small donation to help give kids the tools they need to connect to nature.”
Back in 2012, the National Trust’s Natural Child report found that fewer than one in ten children regularly played in wild spaces, compared to half of youngsters just a generation ago.
In the wake of Covid, there are widespread concerns that even more children are now missing out on the physical and mental health benefits of the outdoors.
Ambassador schools will be supported by Peak District rangers and volunteers, who will help them to learn about the national park and to visit a wonderful outdoor play area practically on their doorstep.
The foundation’s appeal is aiming to provide each school with a outdoor experience kit of learning tools such as magnifying glasses, bug boxes, dipping nets, identification charts and den building kits which will stay with the schools to be a long-term legacy of their membership of the scheme.
Rachael Lyon, who manages the park authority’s engagement team, said: “The kit boxes will provide vital specialist equipment for young people to really explore like a national park ranger.
“Hopefully they will encourage young people to enjoy, care for and take pride in the Peak District National Park and promote the benefits of outdoor learning and connection to nature for all.”
To make a donation, go to peakdistrictfoundation.org.uk/ambassador-schools/ or text 'Donate peak 28' to 88802 to give the amount of your choice.