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Topics of interest to secondary students

This page of inspiration aims to direct secondary school teachers and students to information relevant to Curriculum for Excellence.

Contact us with any requests or suggestions of any other topics you would like us to cover as the Scottish Qualifications Authority courses evolve.

Scottish Natural Heritage has a vast store of knowledge about Scotland’s nature and landscapes. This includes data and information on many aspects of Scotland’s environment, which you can access free of charge via our SNHi data services.

What we do

The Scottish Government funds SNH.

Our purpose is to:

  • promote, care for and improve our natural heritage
  • help people to enjoy nature responsibly
  • enable greater understanding and awareness of nature
  • promote the sustainable use of Scotland’s natural heritage

Find out more about SNH.

Habitats

Scotland’s habitats are rich and varied. These have been shaped by natural variation in the rocks, soils, landforms, the surrounding seas and our climate. Centuries of farming and other human use have also played an important role.

Find out more about Scotland’s habitats and ecosystems – from our coast and croftlands to our woodlands and wetlands.

Find green spaces near you on Scotland’s Greenspace Map.

Species

Discover some of the thousands of plants and animals that our diverse habitats support, and why they’re important to people.

Some species such as dolphins and pine trees are large and familiar. Others, like lichens and ants, you can only get to know with the help of a magnifying glass. Some animals live here all the time, while others are just visiting.

Together they fill Scotland with colour, movement and sound. Many species also play a vital part in keeping our environment clean and productive.

Explore some of our species projects, which have looked at the likes of the beavers, sea eagle and capercaillie.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of all living things, and it provides us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and other vital services that we depend on.

SNH supports the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity. As part of this, we are engaged in Scotland’s Biodiversity: A Route Map to 2020.  Part of the route map is the Learning in local greenspace project which will see 100 of the schools that serve Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas matched with a greenspace within walking distance.

Climate change

Climate change poses a serious threat to Scotland’s nature – and our way of life – and we are already seeing its effects.

Read about how we work with others to respond to climate change and find out what you can do to help.

Renewable energy

SNH supports the development of renewable energy. Read about our approach to renewable energy.

You can also learn about the types of renewable technologies and how each might affect Scotland’s nature and landscapes.

National Nature Reserves

National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are areas of land set aside for nature. They’re managed mainly for the purpose of conserving habitats and species of national and international importance.

People are also welcome at NNRs – they’re some of the best places to see Scotland’s wildlife. Many have facilities to help visitors to experience the nature and landscapes around them.

Scotland’s NNRs together showcase the wide variety of our habitats and species – from pine forest to blanket bog and from seabird colonies to mountain plants.

Visit the Scotland’s National Nature Reserves website.

Find out about outdoor learning at NNRs.

Enjoying the outdoors

Scotland’s countryside and green spaces add hugely to our quality of life and well-being. Explore the many ways to enjoy the outdoors and find places to visit.

Everyone has the right to access most land and inland water in Scotland, as long as you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. There are Scottish Outdoor Access Code education resources to use with students aged 8 to 14.

Find information about staying safe during deer stalking season, in Heading for the Scottish Hills.

Scotland’s People and Nature Survey can tell you all about how people in Scotland use, enjoy and value the natural environment.

Or read our Commissioned report on the attitudes and behaviour of young people in Scotland towards outdoor activities.

School gardens

We support Grounds for Learning, who can help schools to connect with nature by better using their grounds and local area.

View Garden for Life leaflets on the Keep Scotland Beautiful website. These are useful to schools wishing to improve their grounds for biodiversity and learning and teaching.

Publications

Our wide range of publications includes:

  • Naturally Scottish series – explore Scotland’s native species
  • Landscape Fashioned by Geology series – learn how our countryside changed over geological time, and how familiar views relate to the rocks beneath
  • The Nature of Scotland Magazine – read news and features about Scotland’s nature and our work, including with schools

Scotland’s Living Landscapes series look at habitats, how and why they develop, the wildlife they support, and the cultural heritage linked to them.

View Scotland’s Living Landscapes guides on: