The benefits of getting kids and young people outdoors are well researched - connection with nature, learning about their environment, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and of course, play!
There are lots of options for children to take part in short or single-day outdoor environmental events. But what if there was a program that supported schools and community groups to develop an outdoor project with greater long-term impact that their families and community partners could help deliver?
This is where Take Me Outside NSW comes in! The Australian Association for Environmental Education NSW is proud to be bringing Take Me Outside to NSW in 2019, with thanks to a NSW Environmental Trust grant, and with permission from Take Me Outside Canada.
Take Me Outside NSW will offer a 'one-stop- shop' for teachers, educators, community volunteers, and state government and council staff to connect and develop programs and activities to help young people get healthy and active in our environment.
The name and concept of the project has been taken from Take Me Outside Canada, a not-for-profit organisation committed to educating and creating awareness with Canadians about their connection with nature and time spent outside (www.takemeoutside.ca). Since it started in 2011, Take Me Outside Canada has worked collaboratively with other organisations, schools and individuals to help more than 1 million youth spend more time outside through various advocacy projects and initiatives.
The Take Me Outside NSW project will see a website, social media channels, resources, project planner and more available online in Term 2 2019, linking in closely with Sustainability Schools NSW and other key partners to help support schools and groups develop and deliver their projects. Schools and groups who sign up to deliver a project in 2019 will not only receive support and guidance, they will be joining the Take Me Outside NSW community and be able to share their stories through photo and video competitions.
All project should be hands-on, maximise the on-the-ground quantifiable benefits to the environment, as well as reconnecting children and adults with nature, and learning in the outdoors. Take Me Outside NSW projects fit under Project Based Learning for schools, and can also be coordinated by local councils, agencies and community groups to work with schools as part of Take Me Outside NSW.
Free online registrations will be open for participants in Term 2 2019, with a series of questions that will help to form their project plan including:
What you want to achieve through your project
The number of students and community to be involved
The on-ground outcomes for example, the number of trees to be planted; kilograms of litter to collect; area of habitat created/regenerated.
Partners or other organisations that could help support the project
How project evaluation will be carried out
Towards the end of each year, Take Me Outside NSW registered project leaders will be asked to complete evaluation surveys to measure how successful projects have been including:
- On-the-ground quantifiable environmental outcomes and benefits
- Any behavioural/social outcomes of the projects for those involved
- How the project will continue on, or be maintained into the future, for a greater and more meaningful impact.
The Take Me Outside NSW website is currently under construction, but there will be some great opportunities for all different schools, community groups, and organisations to get involved and support our students to be involved in projects through outdoor experiences, with their community, to connect with nature, and to make a difference for future students and generations.
If you'd like to be added to our mailing list and stay up to date with the progress of this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org