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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Shropshire charity launches unique Eco-Skills programme to boost environmental learning

A Shropshire outdoor education provider has launched the first in a major series of Eco-Skills courses aimed at boosting people’s knowledge of natural history, biodiversity and environmental arts subjects.

The Field Studies Council, which has been providing environmental education for more than 75 years, will host more than 200 different courses between now and the end of the year covering everything from bats and wildflowers to nature writing and photography.

Courses will run virtually to start with and then from July will take place at FSC properties across the UK with learners able to book day courses, short breaks or even holidays to combine their hobbies and interests with time away from home.

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It’s expected that more than 10,000 hobbyists, nature lovers and those with a professional interest in the environment will sign up to the expert-led courses throughout 2021 to broaden their skills and knowledge.

Clare Rooney, FSC’s eco-skills training and learning manager, said: “We are hugely excited to launch our new Eco-Skills programme.

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought people closer to nature and connected them to the world in which they live like never before. People have been spending more time outdoors, they’ve taken up new hobbies and some have even reassessed their jobs and careers, all of which has triggered a growing interest in environmental learning.

“Our new courses aim to support these newly adapted habits and interests by helping people to learn new skills and broaden their knowledge in natural history, biodiversity and environmental art.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time curating a unique list of courses which cover more than 35 different subject areas and we’re confident there is something to suit everyone’s interests, whether its learning more about trees and plants, marine mammals and wildlife or nature writing and photography.

“Courses offered in each subject area will range from introductory level through to advanced level and each one will be delivered by highly talented, expert FSC associate tutors.

“We’re also extremely fortunate to have partnered with several expert organisations assuring quality course content which is current and engaging. We aspire to a system of national accreditation for all the courses developed, further supporting people in their learning journeys.”

The first of FSC’s online courses – Discovering Marine Mammals; Discovering Trees; and Introduction to Nature Writing – started in April and proved hugely popular.

The next set of courses to run in May and June will cover everything from garden slugs, earthworms and ants to mammals of the sea including whales and dolphins.

There will also be courses to learn more about wildflowers and trees and much more.

The Field Studies Council has a long and successful track record of delivering environmental training and education to learners of all ages from primary school level through to university postgraduates and beyond.

With the current heightened focus on environmental protection and understanding from businesses, organisations and individuals across the UK, the charity is expecting interest in the new eco-courses to be extremely high.

“Based on previous courses we’ve run and growing interest from our established network of learners, we’re expecting around 10,000 bookings for our eco-skills courses this year which will be fantastic,” added Clare.

“Our role as an environmental educator is to provide people with the skills and knowledge they need to help them make impactful changes whether that be learning how to protect wildlife in their own gardens or going on to pursue a professional career in an environmental role and influencing others in society – it all makes a difference.”

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