Natural Nations: Swedish schools open for survey testing

Our newest Erasmus + transnational project had just got going when Coronavirus arrived and forced us to put the brakes on!  Fortunately, the teams from Malta, Spain, Sweden and the UK had already got together in chilly February for their first official meeting in Winchester to introduce each of their own organisations and consolidate the timeline and outputs for this biodiversity project.

A key objective of Natural Nations will be to provide schools with the tools they need to deliver an exciting, creative and effective approach to teaching about the needs and benefits of wildlife, in particular insects and birds.  With the background of LtL’s practical experience of designing a pollinator survey for the successful Polli:Nation project and producing ID charts, the project team discussed plans to test out this important aspect of observing what species of insects and birds are present in school grounds in their individual countries.

Luckily for us, Swedish schools stayed open while those in Malta, Spain and the UK were forced to close as soon as lockdowns were imposed and together with Lund University, arranged a series of school visits throughout May & June.

The first visits introduced the concept of biodiversity and its geographical differences ranging from local to global.  The second incorporated a practical habitat inventory of the school grounds, trying out different areas, methods and ranges and the final meeting discussed the methodology and what steps could be taken to increase biodiversity.  Information gathered from a total of 10 visits will inform the design of the insect and bird surveys, to be discussed and finalised at the upcoming all partner Learn, Teach and Train week June 15-18.

We are hugely grateful to the staff at Naturskolan and Lund University for helping to keep the project on track and translating their enthusiasm and drive into practical action in schools, while the other project partners were and still are for the foreseeable future, not in a position to do the same.

Tack så mycket alla!

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