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This summer, for the first time schools from across England will be able to join the global Learning About Forests (LEAF) programme, sponsored by leading ethical and sustainable children’s clothing brand Frugi.
This worthwhile initiative is launched by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy in England as an annual standalone educational programme and award and can also be used as topic evidence by schools when applying for the international Eco-Schools Green Flag, also managed by Keep Britain Tidy.
Now in its 21st year, the LEAF programme operates in 26 countries and engages with nearly 1,000,000 young people from around the world to help raise awareness of UK forest ecosystems.
From school grounds to backyards, from ancient woodlands to local parks, from trees to lichen, the LEAF programme enables all who take part to appreciate nature in their community.
Whilst the focus of the LEAF programme is forest-based ecosystems, the skills and knowledge acquired can be applied to any natural environment.
Schools located in urban areas are especially welcome to take part in the programme to help young people and staff reconnect with nature and ecosystems that exist in their towns and cities. The free LEAF programme is also open to youth groups and registered home schools in England.
Like Eco-Schools, the LEAF programme must be led by pupils as they work through the ‘Forest Cycle’ for their chosen LEAF Theme: Climate, Biodiversity, Restoration, Water, Community or Production.
Through planning, leading and monitoring actions young people will change behaviours and raise awareness of the importance of the native trees and ecosystems.
Schools are also asked to use the LEAF programme to ‘green’ the entire curriculum and to help teaching staff who may not be specialised in outdoor education feel more confident delivering their lessons outside.
The current LEAF Award application window will be open from 1 June until 30 July. A new round of the LEAF programme will re-commence in September 2021 and run until July 2022.
To download the free LEAF teaching guide and register with the programme head over to the Eco-Schools England website.
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