Present for the Planet: inspiring & engaging children
Nature nurtures children. This Christmas, give the gift of a lasting relationship with the natural world.
There is something about nature which is good for the heart of a child. We mean this from a metaphorical and physical standpoint; research has repeatedly demonstrated a link between spending time in nature and positive welfare outcomes. Children who spend time in nature are less stressed, have higher self-esteem, and are likely to be fitter than those who don’t.
When a child forges a relationship with nature, it’s a bond which will last a lifetime. Aware of nature’s enormous value, these children begin to perceive the world differently. In the midst of a climate crisis, this couldn’t be more important. Children who appreciate nature could go on to become scientists, politicians, activists
At The Rivers Trust, we think that helping children to develop a relationship with nature is incredibly important. Last year, our local Trusts worked with 593 schools—but this year, we want to work with even more.
Why spending time in nature is important
- It encourages children to get active: one study found that the amount of physical exercise children took part in rose relative to the amount of tree-filled spaces in their neighbourhood
- It can reduce stress: among highly stressed children, green spaces have been found to make a fantastic impact on stress levels
- It can improves self-discipline: green spaces can help children to develop self-control and a sense of peace within inner-city youth enhances peace
- It supports a child’s development: a study found that nature impacts every major form of childhood development: intellectually, physically, emotionally and socially.
- It can improve academic performance: studies in the US have found that schools which use outdoor classrooms and other nature-based education techniques support impressive increases in academic performance
How you can help
This Christmas, we’re asking you to consider giving a #PresentForThePlanet. With your donation, we could help even more children to enjoy nature. We could run more classroom sessions, more trips to the river, and more workshops. Whether you choose to contribute a small, one-time donation, or a commitment to an ongoing contribution, you can make a difference. Patagonia are very kindly offering to match your donations this festive period, so your donation can go even further!
What our local Trusts do
Many of our local Trusts run schemes specifically designed to inspire children. For example, Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust have their fantastic Rivers2U van. This mobile classroom is driven to visit children at schools across the catchment. They have the chance to identify minibeasts, use a microscope, and learn about how water moves through the environment. Some of these children might not get the chance to engage with nature at home, so experiences like this are truly invaluable.
Eden Rivers Trust ran a fantastic exhibition earlier this year, centred around the ‘Litter Monster’. The Litter Monster took up residence at the Eden River’s Trust collaborative exhibition, Eden Rivers Wonder World. It is a towering, 5-metre high sculpture made entirely from waste found in around rivers in the Eden catchment. A total of 79 students from within the Eden Catchment helped to source and sculpt the Litter Monster. On the first day, they carried out a litter pick, helping to clean the riparian habitats and protect wildlife from harm. On the second day, they helped to create the Litter Monster itself, as well as starring in a film discussing their opinion on littering.