SCAN: Starter Menu

Once, we could find nature everywhere. Now we now have to to be taught where and how to look.

The SCAN Manual

SCAN in the Curriculum

SCAN the Wider Perspective

The aim is to offer schools various routes to discover their neighbourhood's wildlife and become involved in managing year on year appraisals of common plants and animals in gardens, parks and open spaces. It relates to four local objectives of the UK biodiversity action plan:-

SCAN began developing teaching resources in the late 1990s with its 'Nature Quest' programme, which started with creative dance. Excerpts from 'The Water Babies', and 'Tarka the Otter' and 'Salar the Salmon', were then used as focal points for group and individual work across the National Curriculum. The following material came from the CD produced for schools.  It contains ideas and resources to stimulate and support follow up work leading to the establishment of a system of environmental appraisal of local plants and animals.

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'.


Appraisals of neighbourhood biodiversity

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 be spiritual valuations of place because of what has happened there or what has been lost.

6 Library

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