USA: Living Classrooms on Guam

The National Trust for Historic Preservation

In partnership with INTO and ICOMOS, today we are celebrating the International Day for Monuments and Sites. This year’s theme is the “Heritage of Education.” And one of the very first places in the world to greet the day is Guam, over 8,000 miles from the U.S. Capitol in the Western Pacific Ocean. Its indigenous inhabitants, the Chamorro, became U.S. citizens in 1950 though the territory has yet to achieve its self determination status.  Since the 16th Century, Guam has operated as a strategic outpost for the Spanish and United States, and, briefly, during World War II, the Japanese.

In recent years, Guam has seen a resurgence of interest in the values and belief systems of the ancient Chamorro. This cultural renaissance has resulted in a resurrection of the Chamorro language particularly among the island’s youth, and prompted renewed interest in traditional music and dance, arts and crafts, and medicinal practices.

Educators have found that teaching about the ancient Chamorro way of life can be greatly enhanced by on-site visits to the village sites that predated Western contact. However, the U.S. military owns roughly 30% of the island, much of it on the island’s north where several potential teaching areas remain. As a result, these places are virtually impossible for school groups to access given rigid base security procedures.

Hiking to Pagat

Hiking to Pagat

Enter Pågat: one of the last ancient village sites that is still publicly accessible on Guam, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Mostly owned by the Chamorro Land Trust, public access to Pågat requires a steep descent down a coastal bluff from a main highway on the island’s northeastern edge. The site includes tangible artefacts of the past life there before the Spanish forcibly removed its inhabitants in a 16th Century campaign notoriously known as reducción.

Dr. Marilyn Salas, Professor of Culture and Education at University of Guam, frequently leads groups of college students to Pågat to show them firsthand the medicinal plants, potsherds, and pillar foundations of ancient houses, known as latte stones, which have became the most recognisable symbol of the island’s pre-colonial heritage.  Regarding the significance of the site as a teaching tool, Salas exclaims:  

“Taking my students to Pågat village is the core and essence of culture and education on Guam. Teaching and learning takes place the moment we step onto the head trail.”

A central feature at Pågat is its deep limestone cave, which contains a cool pool of freshwater and requires a flashlight to enter. In addition to being a great respite from the tropical heat, one can imagine how spiritually significant the cave must have been as the only freshwater source in the area.  It was literally the lifeblood of the village that once thrived there.

Starting in 2009, the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the U.S., in cooperation with We Are Guahan, and the Guam Preservation Trust successfully led an effort to keep Pågat open to the public and free from the nuisance of a complex of firing ranges. The U.S. military had proposed the training facilities on a nearby bluff which sparked outrage in the community.  Prompted by a court ruling in 2012 in favor of heritage advocates, the military has now pledged to do additional studies, putting the threats to the site on a temporary, and, hopefully, permanent hold.

I had the chance to visit Pågat several times with Joe Quinata, Chief Preservation Officer with the Guam Preservation Trust. Joe promotes heritage education on Guam in classic Chamorro style – with a joyous spirit and infectious enthusiasm for teaching others.  Though western archaeologists have confined the site’s significance to its tangible remains, Joe explains that the site’s significance is much broader, taking into account the traditional cultural practices that take place along the eastern coast of the island. Fishing, hunting, and most importantly medicinal practices occur seasonally in the area. On the hike he points out medicinal plants, significant breadfruit and banyan trees, and remind travellers that respect for the whole cultural environment which supported the survival of the site’s people is necessary to true preservation.

As is quite common in preservation advocacy, the efforts to “Save Pågat” have resulted in even greater attention to the site’s unique qualities and consciousness for the betterment of Guam’s heritage. It has proven that the protection of tangible places is necessarily intertwined with protecting the intangible – the values that embody the culture we put forward in the present.

England, Wales and NI: Learning and Interpretation at a World Heritage Site

The National Trust for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

At Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal we are always looking at new ways to involve visitors, local communities and schools and colleges in activities to learn about the Studley Royal Park, including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey World Heritage Site. Our Learning Officer, Cassandra White, organises a programme of formal learning activities for schools and informal learning activities for our visitors and local communities.

Over 13,000 children visit the site a year with their school. These school visits encourage children to visit and value the site and develop a passion for its future conservation. One of our most popular activities for schools is ‘A Day in the Life of a Monk’ which gives children an insight to what life was like for the Cistercian Monks when they lived in the abbey.

Day in the life of a monk

Day in the life of a monk

We also work closely with local theatre group ‘North Country Theatre’ to create a day long history-through-drama event where children can experience life in the Tudor period. Children play roles alongside the professional actors and use the Elizabethan/Jacobean Fountains Hall (see photo) and the 12th century Cistercian Mill to investigate the lives of the mistress of the Hall, the miller, the seafaring adventurer and the steward and how they were affected by the Age of Discovery. This helps children understand the lives of rich and poor people in Tudor times and the effects of Tudor exploration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have been using the World Heritage in Young Hands pack to develop some fun activities for our annual World Heritage Weekend which we hold the weekend nearest to International Sites and Monuments Day. We use this weekend to raise awareness of our World Heritage Site status and Outstanding Universal Value. This year we have a World Heritage marquee with an exhibition all about World Heritage, our site and other sites in the UK. Last year, we invested in a large fabric map and challenged families to stick fabric models of World Heritage Sites on the correct location on the map and then look up the reasons for inscription. We also have Bradford University tutors and students coming along to carry out a geophysical survey of the West Green of Fountains Abbey to explore the location and form of the ‘missing’ third abbey guesthouse which once stood on this site. The survey work will  include lots of opportunities for visitors to talk to the archaeologists and find out more about the history of the abbey and modern archaeological survey methods.

ICOMOS UK now sit on our World Heritage Site Steering Group and we are working with their representative, Peter Goodchild, to develop the potential for the site to provide education aimed at improving the appreciation, conservation and care of landscape and garden heritage. The Draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value describes the 18th century landscape garden at Studley Royal as ‘one of the most spectacular water gardens in England’ and ‘an outstanding example of the development of the ‘English’ garden style throughout the 18th century’. The site provides an ideal location to demonstrate and learn about the principles of conservation and sustainability in practice.

India: Culture and education in rural areas

The Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD) is focussed on restoration and development of heritage in rural areas. Rural areas are the back bone of Indian culture, which in turn, is recognised as one of the most vibrant cultures in the world.

A good proportion of India’s population lives in the rural areas; which means that the agriculture remains the prominent employer and remains the main source of livelihood and economic activity.

Admittedly, technology is rapidly changing our life styles, and one has to factor in the impact of this change on rural India as well.

Although, the windfalls of applying appropriate technology in the rural areas, especially in agriculture and allied fields, are heartening, total dependence on modernisation is not desirable and has to be avoided. This can be achieved right from the formative years of children, when they have just begun acquiring knowledge.

Culture, Education and Development

It is commonly believed, in development circles, that social and cultural development in rural India has been slow. But on the other side, it has the positive view, which non submission to modernisation has actually preserved our heritage, culture, identity and held us together in rural India.

The trust “ITRHD” is pursuing a culture-sensitive approach to development, and in the process felt the need to better understand cultural diversity and how it affects/ marks on the process of development. Many festivals, fairs, melas denoting the rich cultural heritage of the area fall in cyclic and sequential manner and boost the business of the area. The cyclic and cascading effect of the above process is the reason behind the development and prosperity of many a culture rich civilisation.

2013-04-15

Artwork in Chacha Nehru Primary School

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan said, “ The aim of education is not the acquisition of information, although important, or acquisition of technical skills, though essential in modern society, but the development of that bent of mind, that attitude of reason, that spirit of democracy which will make us responsible citizens.”

Indeed, a sensitive and comprehensive education system would help to shape the younger generation into ethically correct and socially conscious youth /adults.

Culture and education cannot be separated but are complementary to each other and interface at various junctions. Both are interwoven in various ways. While culture impacts the quality and purpose of education, whereas education brings a sense of pride in our culture which is manifested in all stages of individual growth.

Primary education is where it all starts and the child begins to respect the importance of a value based life as she/he sees things and events happening, and the behaviour of others, around. The trust has adopted a unique model in imparting elementary/primary education so the youth is focussed on preservation of culture and heritage.

ITRHD has set up a primary school “Chacha Nehru Primary School” in village Hariharpur, a village famous for its classical music tradition which is 400 years old. Harihar pur is a village in District Azamgarh, up in North East India. The school which started in Feb 2013 has 64 registered and enrolled children in the age group of 4-6 years. Priority has been given to poor and marginalised girls.

The school is run by female teachers belonging to the same village, who have been formally trained as primary school teachers. The majority of them are daughters-in-law, so the resource remains in the village even after marriage!

The school offers mid day meal which is a very balanced, freshly cooked meal, where most of the provisions are donated by the villagers.

The happy atmosphere and nutritious food are the biggest attractions for the children and they are too keen to attend the school. The children are often present on the school premises much before the school start time!!

The school building (currently on hired premises) is being constructed, again on land donated by villagers, partly funded by British Council and mainly through corporate CSR funds and donations.

The school is a unique example of community, NGO and international agency participation in development through all its stages of coming up- designing, planning, construction, conceptualisation and implementation.

Fiji: Welcome to World Heritage Day

The National Trust of Fiji

As April 18 dawns on the world, the National Trust of Fiji, a member of the INTO, will be the first organisation to kick start the celebrations for World Heritage Day. And it has a special programme planned out.

The National Trust of Fiji, through its site, the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park will be celebrating World Heritage Day 2013 with its neighbouring primary school, Kulukulu Public School.

The Kulukulu Public School is close to the National Park and has over the last few years participated in a few of the National Park’s education and awareness programs.

This year, the National Trust of Fiji together with the Kulukulu Public School, will engage the school children in the celebration of World Heritage Day 2013- “Heritage of Education”.

Both places share a common history. They are places where people from different walks of life come to learn, share and get enlightened. They are special places and will continue to be special to those who appreciated them then and appreciate them now.

This partnership provides a chance to capture the essence of World Heritage Day and reward the many young eager minds, the value of our heritage. These young minds will become our future heritage ambassadors who will remind our people, that our past greatly influences our futures and hold the key to opening tomorrow’s door.

April 18 is a celebration of the National Trust of Fiji and the Kulukulu Public School as not only being special places but being places that nourish our future.

Our celebration program for the day will happen in two parts: the first part will take place at Kulukulu Public School. The lower and middle primary school students (mainly Years 1 to 6) will be engaged in an Art and Craft competition followed by a ‘Chorus’ competition. Both activities will be themed on ‘My School, My Heritage’. These young students will be encouraged to capture through their artwork and creative drama what their school has come to mean to them and the people around them. It provides our young heritage ambassadors a chance to expose their creativity through a media that is already part of their cultural heritage. The children will be rewarded for their contributions through prizes and certificates.

The second part of the programme will happen at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. It will involve the upper primary classes, mainly Years 7 and 8. These older students will be the first to pioneer the Park’s Heritage Race. This is a first for the National Trust of Fiji. The Race is in essence like the renowned ‘Amazing race’. Children in their little groups will race around the National Park’s Yatolekaleka Track (1 hr track), with ‘task stops’ along the track. There will be 7 task stops that each group must visit in order to complete the Race. The task stops provide the Park Heritage Rangers a chance to get the students to test their knowledge and dexterity on ‘heritage-themed tasks’. Tasks can range from mind teasers like ‘4 Pictures, 1 Word’, to seed hunting and structure building along the beachfront to identifying native birds. The group that finishes all their tasks successfully and makes it to the finish line first, wins the Race. The winner gets the Heritage Trophy. The Heritage Race will become an annual event for the National Park.

The day’s program is designed to be interactive, fun and educational and will highlight the special attributes of the Sigatoka Sand National Park and the Kulukulu Public School.

April 18 promises to be a memorable day for everyone. We wish you all a Happy World Heritage Day!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • The National Trust of Fiji is a statutory organisation established under the National Trust Act Cap 265 in 1970. The Functions of the National Trust of Fiji are: to promote the permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation of lands (including reefs), buildings, furniture, pictures and chattels of every description having national, historic, architectural or natural interest of beauty; the protection and augmentation of the amenities of any such land or buildings and their surroundings and to preserve their natural aspect and features; to protect plant and animal life; and to provide for the access to and enjoyment by the public of such lands, buildings and chattels.

A curate’s egg of a curriculum?

There’s been a fair amount of coverage and comment recently on the Government’s consultation on the National Curriculum. Andy Beer, the National Trust’s Head of Visitor Experience and Learning, provides an overview of the questions we are asking ourselves as we draw up the National Trust’s response to the Government’s proposals:

The proposed new National Curriculum is an interesting reminder of the diverse interests of the National Trust. Just about every subject area touches on some aspect of our work. Coastal change, nature education, fostering a love of history, climate change, citizenship and identity are all things that bear closely upon our purposes as a charity.

So, how do we respond? Firstly, that it’s a bit of a curate’s egg. There are some good things, but also some areas that cause us, and others, some concern. We are compiling a response by talking to our staff, volunteers and partners, but in doing so here are some of the questions that we are asking ourselves:

The consultation document asks us whether we agree that “we should free teachers to shape their own curriculum aims based on the content of the programmes of study” and this seems an entirely laudable aim. However, if that is the ambition then why does the history curriculum not look like the geography curriculum? The latter is a broad framework, which appears to have been well received, whereas the former appears a prescriptive list of tasks, perhaps best accompanied by an atlas shaded in pink.

This leads us to a second question in relation to a history curriculum, for which the answer is self evident: “can we engender an understanding of chronology (a good thing) without teaching things in rigid chronological order?” The delight felt by the National Trust’s archaeologists that prehistory is now included in the curriculum has been somewhat tempered by the understanding that it appears to only figure between the ages of 5 and 5 and half. I sense we are underestimating the ability of children to organise information and, in doing so, might we squander the chance to fire them up about history?

Nature education is also an area we feel passionate about. The science curriculum places strong emphasis on the importance of first hand experience (something we would strongly support) and is also littered with the phrase “pupils should use their local environment throughout the year” and an increased emphasis on some basic skills of taxonomy potentially providing opportunities for learning about plants and animals. Is that sufficient?

Climate change is another thematic area of study that is not explicitly mentioned. Interestingly this forms part of a wider pattern of a move away from cross disciplinary areas of study. The curriculum looks as though it is split into separate silos, which is unhelpful given that most of the problems these children will face when mature cut across subject boundaries. That said, it will be very hard to teach “weather and climate” and the interaction of “human and physical processes on landscapes” without reference to it. However, it is a curious inconsistency that students will be required to know about the Heptarchy (I had to look it up) and Wycliffe’s Bible, but that knowledge of climate change is only optional.

Find out more about the government’s consultation on the National Curriculum.

New report sheds light on the importance of outdoor play.

New research carried out by the Forestry Commission Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University reveals the importance of outdoor play in line with the National Trust’s own Natural Childhood Inquiry. Education experts spent a year studying a group of 13 children from Meadowlane Primary School in Cardiff as part of a Forest School programme to assess how our woodlands can help their development.

“…Allowing children the freedom to explore a natural environment offers a wealth of opportunity to develop creative self-directed play.”

‘Forest’ Schools in Wales

The report outlines a reflective journey on a year long Forest School programme with a group of year four primary children in South East Wales. The Forest School approach has been popular within the Foundation Phase in Wales, however, there seems to have been less focus upon Forest School with Key Stage Two children, this belief was a catalyst for the project.

“…the children seemed to naturally seek to extend their individual boundaries and development.”

The conclusions from this report suggest that allowing children the freedom to explore a natural environment offers a wealth of opportunity to develop creative self-directed play. The report suggests that “all the children tended to take on challenges when they were ready for them.  When left to their own devices, the children seemed to naturally seek to extend their individual boundaries and development” (2012, p35).

“…children are often more involved, imaginative and excited in their learning experiences when they are making their own choices.”

The Forest School leaders aimed to strike a balance between establishing a certain amount of structure during this year-long Forest School programme, which made certain children feel more secure, and allowing sufficient time and encouragement for self-directed learning and play. The report suggests that this time of exploration was invaluable to the children’s experiences.  Observations by the Forest School leaders indicate that the children are often more involved, imaginative and excited in their learning experiences when they are making their own choices. Had the programme been more structured around adult-led activities, these valuable learning opportunities may not have occurred.

The report goes on to question the emphasis placed on self-esteem within a Forest School programme, especially over a short six or ten week programme. It suggests that measuring how self-efficacious children are at specific tasks would be a more accurate and manageable measure for Forest School leaders. It does not dispute the possible gains for self-esteem within a Forest School programme; however, “what it aims to do is open the debate and question the ways in which we measure success” (2012, p. 40).

“For a new generation, nature is more abstraction than reality. Increasingly, nature is something to watch, to consume, to wear – to ignore.”
Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

 

As part of the National Trust’s response to the lack of connection between kids and nature we launched our 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign in May, with many more initiatives to follow. The issues of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ are becoming increasingly understood thanks to research by the National Trust and other organisations.

Getting kids into nature starts at home, inquiry finds

Parents need more support to make the outdoors a part of everyday family life if we’re to avoid rearing a generation completely cut off from the natural world, an inquiry by the National Trust has found.

The Natural Childhood Inquiry – which sought submissions from experts and the public on the barriers and the solutions for children’s connection with nature – found that children’s love of nature is best started in the home. The Inquiry follows on from a report for the National Trust by award winning nature author and wildlife TV producer Stephen Moss, published in March, which documented children’s declining connection with the outdoors and nature.

Inquiry respondents said parents need more accessible child and family-friendly green and natural spaces and that opportunities for children to access and enjoy nature need to be promoted in a more joined-up fashion, and in ways that appeal more to families and children.

Much more could be made of the smaller everyday opportunities for children to play outdoors close to home to connect with nature on their doorstep and parents should look to draw more on networks of family and friends, especially grandparents, to help share the load of their children getting outdoors more.

Time learning and playing outdoors also needs to become a bigger element of the typical school day.

Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “It is clear from the huge public response that our Natural Childhood report struck a chord with the nation.

“Parents want their children to have a better connection with nature, but they don’t feel completely confident in how to make that happen in a safe and stimulating way.

“Our inquiry showed that there is widespread agreement that this is an important issue and that now is the time to act.  The worlds of conservation, government, education and child welfare need to work together with families and communities to find solutions.

“As an organisation founded on the principle that people need access to open spaces, the National Trust is bringing together leaders in all these fields to discuss how to tackle this issue together”.

The Inquiry however recognised that there were some big barriers to a closer relationship with nature. These include excessive health and safety rules, the rise of indoor entertainment competing for children’s time and attention, traffic dangers, over-stuffed school days, and the poor quality and accessibility of green and natural spaces in many communities.

Research with children and parents commissioned by the National Trust to accompany today’s publication of the inquiry findings strongly validates these conclusions.

A YouGov survey [1] of 419 UK parents of under 13s revealed that a range of parental fears and concerns could be preventing children from getting the most of the outdoors.

Stranger danger (37%), lack of safe nearby outdoor places to play (25%) and too much traffic (21%) were the top ranked barriers amongst parents of children aged 12 or under.

Just short of half (45 per cent) of parents of pre-teens identified ‘more local safe places to play’ as the thing which would most encourage them to let their children get outdoors and explore more where they lived.  The other two top solutions supported by parents were ‘more supervised play spaces’ (32%) and ‘more activities organised by schools or youth groups’ (31%).

Qualitative research by Children’s research specialists Childwise found that children also express concerns about safety, often picked up from their parents, around issues such as traffic risks, perceptions that activities such as climbing trees being seen as too risky, or anxious parents reinforcing messages around the outdoors being dangerous such as “don’t go out in the rain in case you slip or catch a cold”.

Tim Gill, author of Rethinking Childhood and leading expert on childhood and risk, and a speaker at the summit, said: “It’s perfectly natural for parents to want to protect their children. But it’s also a simple fact that children can only become confident and capable adults if they are allowed to take some responsibility for themselves as they grow up.

“When children play outdoors and in nature, they have adventures and challenges that prepare them for the everyday ups and downs of life. At the same time, the risks that make many people anxious are often over-estimated.

“A more balanced, thoughtful approach is desperately needed. We have to start recognising the benefits of spending time out of doors, rather than just looking out for the risks.”

The National Trust are today (25 September) hosting a Natural Childhood Summit bringing together community leaders, charities, local government, corporate partners and academic experts to build consensus around action needed to give every child the opportunity to form a personal connection with the natural world.

The summit seeks to build a partnership which works to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to form a connection with nature before they reach 12 years of age [2]. But support from the public, policymakers and politicians is required to make that happen.

As part of its response to the lack of connection between kids and nature the National Trust launched its 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾’s campaign in May.  More than 250 Trust places took part and in the first two months more than 200,000 activity scrapbooks given away and nearly 20,000 users registered on the 50 Things website.

 

[1] The total sample size of the parents study, conducted by YouGov Plc., was 2072 adults of which 419 were parents of children aged 12 and under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th and 12th September.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

[2] Current supporters of the Natural Childhood Summit and partners in the campaign are Arla Food, Britdoc, Green Lions, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Play England, Play Wales and Playboard Northern Ireland.

David Pencheon, Director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, said:  “Developing communities sustainably is not just about carbon reduction and building design. It is also about the role of the natural environment in allowing a lifestyle that promotes health and wellbeing. Providing opportunities for children to be active and adventurous provides long term positive impacts for individuals and is an important part of reducing health problems in later life.”

Catherine Prisk, Director of Play England, said: More than ever we live in a hectic, pressurised world. Children need to be free of that, to have the time, space and freedom to play out, to make friends, explore their world, have adventures big and small. If they don’t have freedom to play, think of the consequences for their health, the way they relate to people and their community, and most of all the consequences to their happiness.

Jacqueline O’Loughlin, Chief Executive of Playboard NI, said: “The demise of outdoor play and the growth of more screen based sedentary activities is fast becoming a major contributor of health problems in childhood.  Those of us whom work with children know that children are biologically predisposed to create, explore and manipulate their play environment; therefore we need to do more to get children outside playing in natural surroundings. We need to reconnect children with nature.   Not only is this crucially important for children’s holistic development, the physical experience and social interaction enjoyed in playing outdoors also helps children gain an appreciation and respect for the natural world around them”.

Mike Greenway, Director of Play Wales, said: “It is natural for children to play outside in a natural environment. Not to play outside is by implication unnatural. The complexity that nature offers children cannot be replicated artificially. Any attempt to create a virtual alternative will be a poor imitation; and why would we want to? The natural environment provides the widest range of opportunities for play; play that facilitates physical and emotional development. Playing is how children find their place in the world, in time and space. As a species we have evolved outdoors. It is a no brainer! Children know they need to be outside, playing; when we ask them they tell us so. Why would we not want children to have a natural childhood? The fact that we are even having this debate is an indication that something in our society is wrong and needs fixing.”

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

National Trust recruiting for kids council

A group of advisors – made up entirely of children- is being recruited by the National Trust to provide advice on how to get more of the nation’s children outdoors.

The idea follows the charity’s recent Natural Childhood Report and 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign, and shows the Trust stepping up its game in encouraging children to explore the outdoors and get closer to nature.

The National Trust is looking to sign up ten children aged between seven and twelve to the council [1] where they will play an important role in developing the charity’s outdoor campaigns, and making their properties more fun for younger visitors.

The perfect candidate will be brimming with enthusiasm and fun, plus have a natural love for the outdoors and fresh air. Potential applicants are also required to have an adventurous spirit and a wild imagination. A fondness for rolling down hills or jumping in muddy puddles would be considered a bonus.

To offer children a chance to try out the National Trust and get inspiration on what they would like to change if they were appointed to the Kid’s Council, the Trust will open up its doors to children for free for the whole month of August. Over 200 places will be free of charge to children [2], giving them the opportunity to explore National Trust places across the country.

The successful council applicants will be announced later in the year and will be offered free year long access to National Trust places for themselves and their family. Canoeing, surfing and camping will be part of the winning prize to ensure kids and their families experience the full National Trust offering. The Kids’ Council will meet throughout 2013 and report their findings into the National Trust’s Visitor Experience Director, so their suggestions can be put into practise to help make the outdoors more fun for the nation’s kids.

The application process will close on 7th September 2012. Applications can be downloaded from the website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kidscouncil and sent back via email, post or handed in at National Trust properties [3]

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, comments:

“We are really committed to helping kids enjoy the great outdoors and we want to make our places the most fun and family-friendly day out destinations in the UK. I’m really excited that our new Kids’ Council will help us do just that. Our kids go free promotion for the entire month of August will not only give kids and their families the chance to get out and explore, but hopefully inspire them to apply for our Kids’ Council and let us know what we can do better in the future.”

– ends –

For more information or interviews please contact the National Trust press office at Mischief on 020 3128 6600 or nationaltrust@mischiefpr.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] Applications can be downloaded from the website at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kidscouncil and sent back via email, post or handed in at National Trust properties.

About the Kids Go Free Promotion:

The National Trust is holding a Kids Go Free Promotion throughout the month of August. There will be a number of excluded properties, which will be detailed at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/augkidsfree  To enter a property all you need to do is show your Kids Go Free voucher which can be downloaded from the website.

[2] a maximum of 2 children ( aged between 5 – 16yrs) can visit free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult

About the Kids’ Council:

For more information and to download an application form visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kidscouncil

Completed forms can be:

-         posted to 50 Things, National Trust, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN22NA

-         emailed to 50things@nationaltrust.org.uk

-          [3] handed in at a property participating in the Kids Go Free offer

Terms and conditions apply. See webpage for details.

About National Trust:

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

Stuck for ideas on what to do with the family this summer? The nationwide ’50 Things’ campaign to help get children outdoors and closer to nature, which has seized the public’s imagination, now appears in a practical and handy book. Packed with things to do in the outdoors, the book will get you and your family off the sofa and parachute everyone into a whirl of activity in the fresh air. National Trust price £4.99 (RRP £5.99) Available 21 July. http://shop.nationaltrust.org.uk/fiftythings

National Trust supports Play England’s Playday
Playday is the national day for play in the UK, a celebration of children’s right to play and a campaign that highlights the importance of play in children’s lives. Playday 2012 is on 1 August and the campaign theme is Get out and play! The Get out and play! campaign is calling on everyone to help make sure that children and young people across the UK have the time, space and opportunity to play outdoors.

Join in the fun at www.playday.org.uk

Playday is coordinated by Play England, Play Wales, play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland.

National Trust to debut new Wallace & Gromit animation over Jubilee Weekend

The National Trust has launched a campaign today teaming up with national treasures Wallace and Gromit to help lead the country’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

A weekend of over 70 Jubilee tea parties will be held across the country where the loveable duo’s new mini animation will be shown for the first time ever at Trust places.  The funny flick has been specially created for the National Trust festivities as part of their Summer of Celebration campaign and shows the pair preparing for the big weekend, by scaling the ladders to hoist the bunting up around a magnificent Trust manor.

The green grass carpet will be rolled out for the mini animation – A Jubilee Bunt-a-thon – and a behind the scenes documentary, which are to be exclusively screened at the Trust’s Jubilee parties. Their films have already met with the royal seal of approval with Camilla declaring that Wallace and Gromit are Prince Charles’ “favourite people in the world”.

The one-minute animation begins in the familiar setting of 62 West Wallaby Street with the ever faithful and long suffering Gromit sitting at his sewing machine making miles of bunting to adorn National Trust places across the country.

The film in numbers:

30 – number of people who contributed to the making of the film

3 – months it took to make

500 – hours taken to complete from storyboard to post production

60 – metres of bunting used to decorate West Wallaby Street and National Trust property

8 – hours spent brushing the grass with a fork to achieve the correct look

30 – kilograms of plasticine used

4 – number of Gromits used in filming

254 – weight in kilograms of the National Trust property in the film

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, comments:

“The National Trust and Wallace and Gromit are two of Britain’s greatest treasures and we felt it fitting that in this summer of celebration we should bring them together. We are holding our very own premiere of  Wallace & Gromit’s Jubilee Bunt-a thon at our properties, it was made exclusively for the National Trust and we are really excited that it will encourage the nation to join us for an extra special Diamond Jubilee celebration.”

Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, comments:

“I have to pinch myself when I think how far Wallace and Gromit have come; from ideas in my head, to ‘film stars’ working with great organisations such as the National Trust, which the nation holds dear to its heart.  At Aardman we are thrilled that Wallace and Gromit have had a chance to explore all the Trust has to offer – from helping to put up bunting to enjoying their Wensleydale cheese platter at a picnic. Wallace and Gromit are in for a cracking summer at the National Trust.

“The National Trust has a special place in my heart from a childhood memory of completing a paint- by- numbers at Stourhead, to Montacute House, on which we based Tottington Hall in the Curse of the Were-rabbit.”

The nation’s much loved comedy duo have paired up with the Trust for some cracking Jubilee parties this summer which as well as the debut of the mini animation and behind the scenes ‘making of…’ film, will also feature Wallace and Gromit model making workshops with trained Aardman animators, themed trails, a variety of fun games for children and exclusive themed retail and catering treats for all the family.

Wallace & Gromit’s Jubilee Bunt-a-thon will be shown on 4th June at fourteen National Trust properties as part of the Summer of Celebration Diamond Jubilee parties.  For a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Wallace and Gromit film visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallaceandgromit.

50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4 – National Trust launches campaign to get children outdoors

The National Trust has today launched a nationwide campaign to encourage sofa-bound children to take to the outdoors and enjoy classic adventures from skimming stones to building dens.

The 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ initiative is in response to a report commissioned by the National Trust which highlighted research that fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago, a third have never climbed a tree and one in ten can’t ride a bike.*

The charity’s 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ campaign provides a checklist for under-12s (and those who are young at heart) including everything from running around in the rain and bug hunting, to setting up a snail race, damming a stream, flying a kite and making a (delicious) mud pie.

To help bring to life these simple pleasures, the Trust has formed a group of Elite Rangers who will share their expert tips on enjoying outdoor adventures and their enthusiasm for encouraging children to play alfresco.

The five rangers, all Trust staff, come from across the UK and range in age from 29 to 49. They include a 6ft 3” tree climbing expert, who has scaled 50 metre-high trees, (a.k.a. Tree Man), Captain Skim who can skim a stone over 26 times and Midas the treasure hunter. The other rangers are Den-Boy, an outdoor hideaway-building champion, and a minibeast expert (aka The Bug Catcher) who can name over 300 varieties of moth.

The fantastic five will be offering top tips on their chosen skill to the nation’s children over a Free Weekend (21st and 22nd April) when the National Trust will open up over 200 of its houses and gardens for free over the weekend, as well as all the countryside spaces it cares for, which are always free access.

Kids can pick up a free 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ scrapbook from participating properties – and start ticking off their outdoor adventures to do list. Plus, the fun can continue at home by visiting nationaltrust.org.uk/50things where children can fill in their completed activities and earn points towards their very own explorer badge.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, comments: “Our Elite Rangers are a fantastic bunch, with bags of enthusiasm for the outdoors and what it can offer kids. We’re hoping that the nation’s children will embrace the 50 things and start having their very own outdoor adventures with their family, with our Free Weekend the perfect opportunity to get outside in the fresh air.”

National Trust Elite Ranger Captain Skim, Mark Astley comments: “My top tips for stone skimming are to find some flat water, like a lake or sea on a calm day. Choose your stone carefully – the smoother, rounder and flatter the better. Next perfect your stance, bend your knees into a squat position with one foot in front of the other about a foot apart. Steady yourself by putting your non throwing arm in front of you and point your finger in the direction you want the stone to travel. Hold your stone throwing arm behind you and then bring forward – throw hard and low so it spins quickly across the top of the water. My personal best is 27 skims and I’m still trying to beat that. ”

The 50 Things to Do Before you’re 11 ¾:

1. Climb a tree

2. Roll down a really big hill

3. Camp out in the wild

4. Build a den

5. Skim a stone

6. Run around in the rain

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree

10. Play conkers

11. Throw some snow

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

13. Make a mud pie

14. Dam a stream

15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand

17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree

19. Swing on a rope swing

20. Make a mud slide

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild

22. Take a look inside a tree

23. Visit an island

24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet

26. Hunt for fossils and bones

27. Watch the sun wake up

28. Climb a huge hill

29. Get behind a waterfall

30. Feed a bird from your hand

31. Hunt for bugs

32. Find some frogspawn

33. Catch a butterfly in a net

34. Track wild animals

35. Discover what’s in a pond

36. Call an owl

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38. Bring up a butterfly

39. Catch a crab

40. Go on a nature walk at night

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

42. Go wild swimming

43. Go rafting

44. Light a fire without matches

45. Find your way with a map and compass

46. Try bouldering

47. Cook on a campfire

48. Try abseiling

49. Find a geocache

50. Canoe down a river

 

The National Trust Elite Rangers are:

1. Tree-Man, Des Cotton from York, Yorkshire, aged 38

2. Den Boy, Andrew Hunt from Dorset, aged 30

3. Captain Skim, Mark Astley from North West, aged 49

4. Midas, Nigel Stannett from Norwich, East of England, aged 29

5. The Bug Catcher, Laura Broadhurst from Bromsgrove, Midlands, aged 31

 

About the Free Weekend:

The National Trust is holding a Free Weekend over the 21-22nd April. There will be a number of excluded properties, which will be detailed at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/freeweekend. To enter a property all you need to do is show your Free Weekend voucher which can be downloaded from the website

Over 200 properties are taking part, in addition to the swathes countryside spaces The National Trust cares for which are always free access

 

About the National Trust Nature Childhood Report:

* Statistics from Natural England (2009) Childhood and Nature: a survey on changing relationships with nature across generations. http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/Childhood%20and%20Nature%20Survey_tcm6-10515.pdf

And Play England: August 2011 (a third have never climbed a tree and one in ten can’t ride a bike)

The Trust has launched a two-month inquiry taking evidence from leading experts and the public to look at how we can reconnect this and future generations of children with the natural world.

The National Trust is working alongside Arla, the NHS Sustainable Development Unit and film-makers Green Lions, to organise a summit this summer to bring together a range of experts to develop a roadmap for reconnecting children and nature.

There are many ways that people can get involved in the inquiry. More information about the inquiry can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/naturalchildhood including details of how to contribute to the inquiry.

There will also be a twitter feed @outdoor_nation, where we will be using the hashtag #naturalchildhood to keep the debate and ideas flowing and an email address outdoor.nation@nationaltrust.org.uk. The inquiry will close on 25 May 2012.