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Forestry Commission backs environmental education campaign in Cumbria

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The Forestry Commission is backing a pioneering environmental awareness campaign being piloted in five north Cumbrian schools.

The Forestry Commission has teamed up with tutors, teachers, the Field Studies Council, and the Lake District National Park Learning Service, as part of the Bassenthwaite Reflections Programme, to target tomorrow’s young decision makers and get them interested in the natural environment.

As part of the new initiative, an interactive multi-media tool has been designed to get students thinking about their surroundings, with the spotlight on landscape and water quality.

The innovative teaching aid has been produced by Heritage Lottery Fund backed Bassenthwaite Reflections, which puts education at the heart of its community landscape programme.

The resource pack targets 11 to 14 year olds and brings them up to speed with pressures on the area and the work being done to protect the lake, landscape, communities and wildlife.  Other age groups can also benefit from the pack. 

The pack includes a 50 minute documentary featuring interviews with landowners and businesses, which brings issues facing the area into the classroom.

Nathan Fox heads up the Education team on the Forestry Commission estate at Whinlatter Forest, near Keswick.  Nathan has over 10 years experience and has also worked on the Forestry Commission’s National Education and Learning Strategy for England.  He says:

“We want to get more people in touch with current environmental issues, such as climate change and landscape management, and we think there’s no better place to learn than in your local forest park or community woodland.

“First hand experience of the natural world is the key to generating lifelong positive attitudes towards the environment.  Woodlands can offer an accessible, safe, varied and stimulating setting for learning, play and adventure for all ages and abilities.”

The ground breaking educational initiative is endorsed by Cumbria County Council’s education services and will be promoted in schools across the county.  It is also hoped that the initiative could ultimately be taken up in other regions. 

The pilot scheme has been used by the University of Cumbria. Ullswater Community College, Penrith, Whitehaven, Beacon Hilll, Aspatria, Netherhall, Maryport and Keswick schools are all involved.

Bassenthwaite Reflections is a Heritage Lottery funded programme.  Reflections partners are made up of Environment Agency, Lake District National Park Authority, National Trust, Forestry Commission, Grampus Heritage and Training and Cumbria County Council.

For further information about the Bassenthwaite Reflections Programme visit

For further information about the Forestry Commission in North West England visit

1. Images are available by calling 01524-782086.

2. The Forestry Commission Education and Learning programme in England has three key messages:

 The role of trees, woods and forests in mitigating the effects of climate change
 Wood as a sustainable material, including wood fuel
 The ecological and environmental benefits of trees, woods and forests

5.  The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain, with responsibility for more than one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The North West England Forest District covers the Lake District in Cumbria, the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The forests are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.

Nathan Fox (Forest Ranger) at Whinlatter Forest on 017687 78611 (office) or 07720700322 (mobile).

Amanda Hancock on 017687 73204/74785, 07919 392803 or email

For further information on any of the 22 projects in the Bassenthwaite Reflections Programme, contact Karin Crofts on or 017687 74785.