Introduction

 
The original CD was compiled from a 'Nature Quest' programme on offer to SCAN schools in South Wales developed by Crickhowell High School and sponsored by the Nat West Bank.  The programme starts with creative dance in the classroom.  Excerpts from Charles Kingsley's 'The Water Babies', and Henry Williamson's 'Tarka the Otter' and 'Salar the Salmon', are used as focal points for group and individual work across the National Curriculum.  Also, a special celebratory performance to which the community is invited, provides a focus for pupils to illustrate simple methods of environmental appraisal and databasing by which everybody can participate in making, and managing, an all-community biodiversity action plan. 

For schools not taking up the 'Nature Quest' programme, the CD could be used as a menu for projects in 'education for sustainability'.

 


1 Water Babies Interactive

Charles Kingsley was a foremost environmentalist who campaigned and educated for a cleaner world. His words are still fresh today, and an important contribution to the debate about how our overcrowded world is going to travel towards a sustainable, and fairer, economic future. 'The Water-Babies', which has achieved the status of a children's classic, presents environmentalism in its entirety. The narrative rests firmly on a journey, which takes in Nature's many worlds, and presents their respective scientific 'ologies' in an entertaining fashion.

Just over a century later, Henry Williamson produced two books of odysseys through water which seized the imagination of children. In 'Salar the Salmon' and 'Tarka the Otter', Tom's ecological wanderings are transposed to the natural history of two of the actual creatures he encountered on his journey to the sea. Williamson, a scrupulous and keen observer, was concerned with presenting the uncertainties and distress of life in the wild. Although a nasty death in the wild is certain, men, as fishers and hunters, add unnecessary suffering. Set in the mountains of Wales, and the river systems of Exmoor and Dartmoor, both of Williamson's unsentimental books bring out the beauty and the harshness of these landscapes, and the complexity of their ecosystems.

The setting of both books is a quest for sustainable behaviour, and a future characterised by restraint on consumption, kindness to others, and care for the ecosystems which support our global economies. Mrs Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By is the magical figure who delivers these messages, and today she could be described as the good-fairy of sustainable behaviour towards the environment. Tom, the boy chimney sweep carries his quest in episodes which can be interpreted at many levels. The messages from the travels of Tarka and Salar are simply that nature has an order, a pattern, that we humans are bound to understand, and respect and preserve.


2 Water in Our Community

This is an extension of the aquatic themes of 'Water Babies Interactive' giving ideas for projects about 'living by water'.


3 BioSCAN

Appraisals of neighbourhood biodiversity

         TimeSCAN How the keeping of nature diaries can be an important community activity

         TreeSCAN How year on year measurements of neighbourhood trees can throw light on climate change.

         GardenSCAN How garden plants are an important part of local biodiversity

         Project Manager  A simple relational database for managing ecological projects- an educational version of the professional Conservation Management System used by UK nature-site managers.


4 Making Footprints

The easiest way to make an environmental appraisal is to draw a picture and attach a message about some feature of the local environment you like or dislike. These can be used as local footprints for others to follow for action.


5 Notions About Nature

Many of our valuations of local nature are notional and can only be expressed as pictures or poems. In particular, there may also be spiritual valuations of place because of what has happened there or what has been lost.


6 Computer games

Computers are good at stimulating systems thinking because they are able to take the operator through a sequence of 'what happens if I do this? Questions. The commercial computer classic SimLife is recommended as a classic game that involves the operator with experimental studies of ecosystems and evolution.


7 Farming and wildlife

Most wildlife in the developed world is to be found on farms. Increasingly an understanding of agricultural systems is necessary to appreciate the value of biodiversity from which we obtain our food as well as managing food production to preserve even the common countryside plants and animals.


8 Library

Self-indexing electronic texts are available for research into the deeper aspects of biodiversity.


9 How to use the files

All, or any, of the files on this CD may be run from the CD or copied to the hard disk. They consist of a mixture of html files which are automatically opened into your browser window, or pdf Acrobat files. The

Acrobat files require an Acrobat reader to be installed on your hard disk.


This on-line educational package has been produced in collaboration with the Conservation Management System Partnership, with the help of sponsorships from Texaco, Nat West Bank, Marks & Spencer the Countryside Council for Wales and the EC LIFE Environment Programme .  

 

 

 

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