The wonders of the outside have been brought into the classroom thanks to High Life Highland’s Countryside Rangers.
Following the Rangers’ launch of online lessons about wildlife and biodiversity, more than 2,000 children have discovered more about its importance and how to protect it for the future.
Working with the Highland Council education department, the Rangers developed a Google Classroom called Highlife Wildlife, allowing teachers to enhance their lessons around the biodiversity of the local environment.
Having used Google Classroom for home-schooling with her son, Rowan, during lockdown, Outdoor Activities and Countryside Ranger Manager Imogen Furlong, saw its potential.
She said: “The Countryside Ranger team has over 200 years of collective experience to share their knowledge of biodiversity with school children across the Highlands.
“With the recently launched Highland Nature Biodiversity Action Plan, of which High life Highland are partners, it identifies priorities that the Rangers work draws heavily on.
“One of the key roles for us is to inspire, engage, encourage and facilitate a whole new generation of children to love and care for the nature of the Highlands and the planet.”
Farr Primary School teacher Andrea Fitter is among around 200 teaching staff from across the Highlands that have utilised the lessons.
She said: “My class thoroughly enjoyed the activities, which were easily adaptable to suit the needs of my class. They learnt lots of new facts through the detailed videos and enjoyed learning about our special place in an outdoor environment.”
Tania Mackie and Robert Quigley of Highland Council’s ICT in Learning Education Team have supported the Countryside Rangers in sharing the wonders of the Highlands with young people.
Tania said: “I’m delighted that the launch was such a success and using the Google Workspace tools, we have supported the HLH staff to create a bank of resources and virtual spaces that support both Curriculum for Excellence and the sustainability agenda.
“This is a brilliant example of what can be achieved through the use of digital tools and how we can connect and collaborate across our 203 schools in Highland.”
Teachers can still use the materials available through Google Classrooms throughout the year, during lessons or sharing online with pupils who are self-isolating.
“We have had some great feedback already”, said Fiona MacLean, North Lochaber Ranger, “and we have really enjoyed seeing the children’s artwork and poetry.”
Grantown Primary teacher Wendy Laing said: “Primary 5 have enjoyed the bluebell video and quiz and have written some acrostic poems. Thank you for this great set of resources.”
To take part, teachers, can join the classroom at https://classroom.google.com/c/MzUyNjg2Nzg1ODk4?cjc=ig52ag4 or search for the classroom through the code ig52ag4
High Life Highland’s Countryside Rangers run public events and guided walks throughout the Highlands aiming to raise awareness and encourage appreciation of the scenery, wildlife, and heritage.