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 are working on a pilot project in autumn and winter 2022/23 and will report back to Scottish Government in spring 2023 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 are currently working with us on a pilot project to co-design, build and test this exciting new school digital mapping resource. This will help to explore and record biodiversity in and around education settings.  

It is hoped that if successful, this resource will be scaled up to become a national resource for all schools. Use of this tool will support digital literacy in pupils, outdoor learning and Learning for Sustainability (LfS).  

The toolkit will be hosted on a webpage and will consist of:

  • a mapping tool using a free, online Geographical Information Systems (GIS) application called ArcGIS online. This will allow learners to explore the biodiversity in their establishment grounds and in local greenspaces. It will also 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 the national picture;
  • resources to support the project.

The toolkit will allow 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.

And support 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.

What is the timeline?



Workshops using co-design principles (2 twilight sessions)

October & November 2022

Build the pilot mapping toolkit

November 2022 - January 2023

Schools test the pilot toolkit

February - March 2023

Schools evaluate the pilot test kit

March 2023

Teacher Usability Study

Technical Feasibility Study (to inform the national roll-out)

March 2023

Report to Scottish Government

April 2023


Like to find out more?

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

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