Environmental Science Programme for Kids Kicks Off at UK Centres
UKRI/ASDC news story: Saturday Dec 5th:
Seven UK Science and Discovery Centres will receive funding from NERC to engage local children and families with the latest climate science.
One project will work with young carers, others will host after school clubs and a community radio station.
The Operation Earth programme will offer inspirational environmental science activities to children from a range of backgrounds.
A popular national programme to engage school-aged children and their families with climate change and environmental science kicks off today on Youth Climate Action Day (Saturday, 5th December).
Operation Earth Phase 2 will take place across 7 UK science and discovery centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cheshire, Leicester, Birmingham, Belfast and Wrexham.
The programme aims to inspire children, families and communities about climate change, the environment and earth observation including how scientists are using space and satellites to understand changes to our climate here on Earth.
Exciting projects across the UK
Each centre will create their own projects using Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funding in partnership with the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC). Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh is working with young carers to offer special Operation Earth Boxes full of hands-on activities. The team at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire have set up After School STEM clubs with local schools to bring the fun climate and environmental science activities to children, and Glasgow Science Centre is hosting slots on their community radio and have launched the Spark magazine to share climate and other science with a wider audience during the lockdowns.
In Phase one of the programme launched in 2018, more than 200,000 children and adults participated in person, and over 37,000 of these met and talked to environmental science researchers at ‘meet the expert’ events. The first phase also saw Earthy, from the Operation Earth family show visit Downing Street as part of Green Great Britain Week.
Inspiring kids to get active on climate change
This year, with families facing coronavirus restrictions and Science Centres intermittently closed due to lockdowns, many children and schools are unable to visit. Phase 2 will focus on engaging children and families at home and online with fun activities and will connect children and families with some of the UK’s most talented environmental research scientists.
The seven Science Centres are:
Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
Glasgow Science Centre
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Cheshire
National Space Centre, Leicester
Thinktank and Birmingham Museums Trust, Birmingham
Xplore!, Wrexham, Wales
Dr Penny Fidler, the CEO of ASDC and Programme Director of Operation Earth said:
We are delighted to be leading this climate and environmental science programme in partnership with NERC. Their world-leading scientists have done so much brilliant research into climate, and it is clear we as a society need to make rapid progress towards net zero.
200,000 people took part in our first phase of Operation Earth, and this new programme reaches into communities with the latest climate science. We hope children and families across our nation will be inspired by the science and how it’s done, so they can explore, discuss and question - and perhaps inspire change locally, or become the environmental entrepreneurs and scientists of our future.
Alison Robinson, NERC’s Director or Corporate Affairs, added:
“Operation Earth is a creative and engaging programme designed to inspire our children and young people. We are thrilled that despite a challenging year, we are kicking off a new phase of the project with the Association of Science and Discovery Centres.
“Youth Climate Action Day is all about tackling climate change. I hope this programme might help spark a passion for environmental science, and inspire children to become the next generation of scientists, innovators and industry leaders who help to solve some of these big challenges we face.”
The key findings from Operation Earth Phase 1 are summarised below:
83% of children and 77% of adults said they were more interested in environmental science after the Operation Earth show or activities.
87% of children and 92% of adults said that sharing the latest environmental science in this way was ‘very important’ after watching the family show or taking part in the activities.
Girls (86%) were more likely to say they were more interested in environmental science than boys (80%).
91% of children and 96% of adults said they thought environmental science is ‘very important’ after watching the family show or taking part in the activities.
An Ipsos Mori poll last year showed that 85% of people in the UK are concerned about climate change. Since the pandemic began, 66% of Britons believe that long-term Climate Change is as serious a crisis as COVID-19
This is just one activity that links to COP26, which now takes place on 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow. It was postponed from November 2020 due to Covid. The COP26 summit will be huge, bringing nations world-wide together to accelerate national and international action on Climate Change.
The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) is the vibrant national charity that brings together the UK’s leading science engagement organisations to play a strategic role in the nation’s engagement with science. Within our membership are over 60 of the nation’s largest publicly accessible science centres, discovery centres, science museums and scientific bodies. Together our vision is for a society where people of all backgrounds and in all parts of the UK are inspired and can get involved with the sciences. Climate science and inclusion are at the heart of most of our National STEM Programmes.
25 million people a year, of all ages and backgrounds choose to get involved with science at one of the UK’s Science and Discovery Centres or Science Museums or through their school or community programmes. www.sciencecentres.org.uk
NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Phase one of Operation Earth saw NERC, in partnership with ASDC, develop Operation Earth with support from NERC researchers, and teams for the science centres. www.operationearth.co.uk . More than 200,000 children and adults participated in Phase One of Operation Earth in 8 months. ASDC created a host of hands-on environment and climate activities, experiments, a family show and exciting opportunities for children and families to meet and talk with environmental research scientists. They then trained and equipped 11 science centres and museums across the UK to run this exciting programme.
On Social media: ASDC are @sciencecentres and we also use #operationearth NERC are at @UKRI_News and @NERCscience