£600,000 funding announced for outdoor learning

Hannah Downey

Mairi Gougeon MSP, the new Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment, has recently announced that £600,000 of funding will be made available to groups and organisations across Scotland for outdoor learning programmes. Ms. Gougeon made the announcement during a visit to the Jupiter Artland Foundation, where she met local school children who were taking part in activities such as making ‘paintbrushes’ from ferns and sticks. 

Jupiter Artland is one of 16 projects which will benefit from the new Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund, which is administered by Scottish Natural Heritage and will run for two years. Young people aged 3-26 from the most deprived areas and disadvantaged backgrounds in Scotland can experience the wellbeing and learning benefits that come with outdoor learning and play in local parks and greenspace; with opportunities to visit nearby countryside, forest or coast. All 16 of the projects involve working with schools and nurseries to help children from deprived areas spend time in nature.

On her visit to Jupiter Artland the Minister said: “Outdoor learning connects children and young people with nature, the physical environment and our communities. It is a key component in the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence, and helps to develop the many skills necessary for our children and young people to meet the social, economic and environmental challenges of life in the 21st century. 

“We want to ensure that all children in Scotland – regardless of socio-economic circumstances – have the opportunity to benefit from positive learning experiences in our natural environment. The Scottish Government is helping to make that happen by funding 16 fantastic projects, through the Outdoor Learning in Nature Fund.”     

To hear more of what Ms. Gougeon had to say, you can watch Scottish Natural Heritage's video below

Mike Cantlay, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage said: “We know how important getting outdoors is for children’s health and wellbeing and for their learning, and the greatest priority for our funding is outdoor learning activity that makes use of local parks and greenspace for outdoor learning by schools or groups. This funding is part of SNH’s response to young people urging for better ways to connect with nature, as laid out in a report published recently by Scotland’s national youth biodiversity group, ReRoute.” 

Kate Latham Head of Learning, Jupiter Artland Foundation said, “Our mission is to get every school child in Scotland to experience art in nature for free, and education is at the centre of what we do. That’s why this funding is such fantastic news, and we’re hugely looking forward to encouraging even more children to learn ways to value beauty and wonder, and to explore our wonderful outdoors.”