By: Blonde Two

It is not often I recommend that anyone read any government document (we in teaching are sick of them) but you really should read this one.

The 8-Point Plan for England’s National Parks” contains within its pages some phrases that evoke positive Blonde reaction. Let’s face it, anything that includes “Connect young people with nature.” as one of its headings has to get us excited. I give a caveat here, I can see no hint of increased funding to help our cash-strapped National Parks pay for these strategies, I hope that this will follow.

The report first gives some bad news, did you know that only 10% of our children have access to outdoor learning? Even more worrying is that last year 1.3 million children in the UK did not visit (or hardly ever visited) natural environments.

But here are the good bits:

We want to engage young people with national parks at every stage of their education.” Yep, we Blondes and almost everybody we have met at Dartmoor National Park Authority would be in agreement.

National Park Authorities to engage directly with over 60,000 young people per year through schools visits by 2017/18.” That is a lot of young people, what an exciting thought! Please can we help engage them?

We will work with National Park Authorities to develop a new package of materials for schools, to enable teachers and parents to connect children’s learning with National Parks.Now if that isn’t a job for Blondes, I don’t know what is! Where do we sign up?

A promising few years ahead for our young people and our National Parks? We Blondes hope so. Dartmoor, of course, is already shining with its Junior Ranger Program being hailed as a praiseworthy example.