Speaking at Teaching Unions’ Conferences 2016

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig taking part in RSPB Big School Birdwatch
Photograph copyright Chew Valley School

A while ago, I wrote two blog posts which were open letters to BBC Wildlife Magazine about my thoughts on getting children into nature:

Letter to BBC Wildlife Magazine

Second open letter to BBC Wildlife Magazine

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/second-open-letter-to-bbc-wildlife.html

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig taking part in Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Since then, I have been speaking to science and geography teachers’ Unions and will be talking at both their annual conferences about conservation and environmentalism being taught consistently in science and geography lessons, as well as in English and other broader subjects. I will be speaking about how this is really important for our future.

The message I plan to get across is that at the moment, I don’t think teenagers know or care about nature, environmental and conservation issues. They are the future and so if we want to save our planet and everything on it, this needs to change. You can’t care about something you don’t know about. I feel that even without these topics specifically being added to the national curriculum, geography and science teachers have a lot of scope for including them in their lessons. I appreciate that many teachers are already trying to do this.

Geographer’s Association – 9/4/16 Manchester

Title – Educating our young people to be environmentalists and conservationists

Summary
13 year old Mya-Rose Craig is a writer, blogger and speaker. She is passionate about saving our planet and everything on it but realizes that most teenagers don’t know or care about these issues. She believes that as young people are the future, unless we can interest them, we have no hope. Hear her thoughts on essential topics to teach such as re-wilding, fracking and palm oil plantations and engaging your students so that they care.

http://www.geography.org.uk/cpdevents/annualconference/

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig taking part in a school trip
Photograph copyright Chew Valley School

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig taking part in a school trip
Photograph copyright Chew Valley School

ASE (The Association for Science Education) Union
– 10/01/2016 Birmingham

Title – Educating our future environmentalists

Summary
13 year old Mya-Rose Craig is a young conservationist, environmentalist and activist and writes the successful birdgirl blog. Hear from her why you should teach your pupils about wildlife and conservation issues. How can our next generation care about nature and the environment if they do not know about it?

http://www.ase.org.uk/conferences/annual-conference/

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig taking part in Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig taking part in Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

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4 thoughts on “Speaking at Teaching Unions’ Conferences 2016

  1. Fantastic blog post and open letters! As I have always been home-educated I can choose my subjects to fit my (environmental) interests, but I am not sure exactly what or how environmental education is taught in schools. It is however something I am very passionate about, because I know that a lot of people our age don’t know or care about the environment, and this needs to change if we want to tackle issues like climate change, extinctions, pollution, etc.

    Outside of school there is certainly a lack of environmental education too. Throughout Scouting, my experience is that there has been barely any mention of wildlife or environmental issues, and most of the badges on those subjects I completed in my own spare time. In fact, you would not believe the complete disregard for the environment, for example where I help out at Cubs, huge quantities of paper, plastic and other materials are thrown straight in the bin despite the meeting place being right next to a recycling point. Of course, not all Scout groups are the same, and (hopefully) some are better. Although there is Wildlife Watch, I have found nothing similar for older children and teenagers, other than going along as a leader. Social media is often the only way in which young naturalists and environmentalists can communicate with one another. This needs to change, and the only way we can do that is through environmental education both in an out of school.

    1. Hi Liz, thanks for reading my blog post and your lovely comment. I am lucky that my scout leaders take us outside quite a bit and they have let me run a birding workshop at a Scout Jamboree and lead an evening looking for Nightjar, which we are repeating next year. We are also hoping to make bird boxes and distribute them around our area, including at our school. Guides go out less often and although I ran a bird workshop where we made bird feeders, it's difficult to arrange events with them. I am really lucky that there is a Young Wardens group on the Somerset Levels and and Young Rangers group on the Mendips, both involving nature and conservation for teens. I was at a workshop at The Wildlife Trusts today with other young people discussing our ideas for getting young people interested in nature, so hopefully some great action will come out of that.

    2. I'm hoping to run some sessions for Scouts (possibly Beavers, Cubs and/or Explorers too) for Queen's Scout Award on things like the badger cull, fox hunting etc. as a Values topic (not entirely sure how that's going to work!). That's quite a while away though but I might be able to run some sessions sooner if I can work out what topic to do them on and how to fit them into the new badge system etc.

      I’ve only ever seen one person around my age at a local event by an environmental organisation. Everyone else has always been a lot older, and there are very few if any young adults either. The only time I've really seen people my own age who have an interest in nature was at Rutland Birdfair. Maybe you have more young naturalists in your area, or maybe there are some up here and I just haven't found them yet! I guess I just have to keep looking. 🙂

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