“Don’t break nature!” – Children call upon nation to stand up for nature in new films

Child from Bury School nature film holding a moth in the South Downs National Park

Children’s new film following nature survey

Don’t break nature is the message from five to 10-year-old children, who have given their verdict on the natural world and how we can help wildlife flourish. The films have been released in the week of World Habitat Day and World Animal Day.

It comes as a new survey commissioned by the South Downs National Park Authority shows the positive benefits of schoolchildren being able to access nature. Of over 200 schools surveyed across Hampshire and Sussex, 100% reported outdoor learning being good for mental and physical health, while 82% said it raised attainment in children.

School children’s comments on the importance of nature

Children from Easebourne Primary School and Bury Primary School, in West Sussex, were the stars of the films. They were asked what they liked about the South Downs National Park and how we can make sure nature thrives in the future. Visit the following link to hear some of their responses: www.youtube.com/watch

Among the responses were:

  • “If we don’t look after nature, the land will literally just become a big brown blob.”
  • “Don’t break nature!”
  • “It’s really important to have the South Downs National Park because without it there would not be much habitats.”
  • “I like the trees outside because they keep us safe from the rain and protect us.”
  • “I like the breeze and how nice the nature it makes this planet really beautiful.”
  • “I find being in the South Downs really special.”
  • “If we didn’t have plants we wouldn’t have bees and bees make honey for us and they make new plants.”
  • “We need to stop throwing litter everywhere.”

South Downs National Park on children visiting the National Park

Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “These wonderful films underline just how important nature is to young people, who are the future custodians of the landscape on which we all depend for food, water and wellbeing.

“We’ve been working very hard to connect children with the great outdoors of the South Downs National Park and are pleased to have been able to help more than 20,000 schoolchildren over the past decade through our Travel Grant scheme. Long may this work continue and expand because we desperately need the next generation of outdoor citizens.

“As young people and families are hit by the cost of living crisis, we’ll continue to work towards our goal of every child being able to visit a National Park during their time at primary school. I also warmly welcome the introduction of the Natural History GCSE from 2025 to help young people develop a richer understanding of the natural world and the challenges of climate change, biodiversity and sustainability.”

Comments from schools on children’s connection with nature

Caroline Hulbert, Headteacher at Easebourne Primary School, said: “Outdoor learning, including Forest School, is a core part of our curriculum at Easebourne.

“Being situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park, our children are surrounded by a huge variety of different species which always inspire a sense of awe and wonder – we are fascinated with the amazing cobwebs on our site at the moment. Our children really do care deeply about their environment and are determined to do all they can to protect it.”

Thomas Moore, Headteacher at Bury CofE Primary School, said: “We are incredibly lucky to be situated at the foot of Bury Hill in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Learning about the environment that we are part of, its rich history and the flora and fauna that make up the diverse habitats within the National Par are all integral to our curriculum.

“We are proud to have children who excitedly run to come and show me a moth or spider they have seen and ensure other children know where it is so that it comes to no harm. We need children to have a rich connection with this environment and a secure knowledge of what is here to ensure that they conserve it and are able to share it with their own children and grandchildren in the future.”

For more information and to apply for a School Travel grant visit www.southdowns.gov.uk/learning/grants-for-schools


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