Nature Discovery Map Scotland

An education toolkit

What is the Nature Discovery Map Scotland?

A UK Government announcement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow set out a vision of establishing a UK National Education Nature Park initiative. This will encourage nurseries, schools, colleges and universities to think of their collective grounds as one whole ‘Park’ with vast potential to help halt the decline of biodiversity in this country. Young people involved will upload their progress on the Park’s digital mapping services. They will be able to see how the Park is ‘growing’ while increasing their knowledge of species and developing important skills, such as biodiversity mapping, data collection and analysis.  This Department for Education film (to 1:24) outlines the UK Government's vision for a National Education Nature Park and we are looking to establish how this initiative could be developed in Scotland.

Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy
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Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy, Nature Park and Climate Leaders Award animation


What is happening in Scotland?

We ran a pilot project in autumn 2022 to spring 2023 and have reported back to Scottish Government with recommendations for how the pilot could be scaled up to become a national resource for all Scottish educational establishments. We are calling this project Nature Discovery Map Scotland.

The pilot

A number of primary, secondary and ASN teachers and pupils worked with us on a pilot project to co-design, test and evaluate this exciting new school digital mapping resource. The resource helped pupils to explore biodiversity in and around education settings and consider how positive change could be made for nature.  

Use of this tool supports digital literacy in pupils, outdoor learning and Learning for Sustainability (LfS).  

The toolkit was embedded in a StoryMap and consisted of:

  • a mapping tool using an online Geographical Information Systems (GIS) application called ArcGIS online. This allowed learners to explore the biodiversity in their establishment grounds and in their local greenspaces;
  • apps to allow schools to upload any new biodiversity improvements they make to their local spaces;
  • a dashboard to allow schools to compare the biodiversity of their establishments grounds with other schools and the national picture;
  • instructions on the use of the toolkit, suggested activities and links to other useful resources.

The toolkit allows learners to:

  • understand the biodiversity and the ecosystems of their area;
  • understand the importance of sustainability and climate adaptation;
  • develop a sense of ownership and pride in their school and local greenspaces.

It supports the development of:

  • practical and knowledge-based skills through biodiversity and climate action;
  • digital skills and STEM learning through geospatial mapping;
  • improved wildlife habitats and an increase in biodiversity in and around educational settings;
  • real world and outdoor learning opportunities.

Like to find out more?

Contact Sue Munro by email, or by phone (Mon-Wed) 0131-314 6783

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