Scottish Beaver Trial Launches Nationwide Education Pack

September 20, 2011 § Leave a comment


Education minister Michael Russell launches beaver education pack

Education minister Michael Russell helps to launch the beaver education pack.

An education pack that will reach all primary and secondary children across Scotland was today launched by Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

As part of the Scottish Beaver Trial, the education pack is an invaluable tool to help give Scottish school children a better understanding of this key native species – how they live, what they do and how they can improve the environment they live in.

Extinct from Scotland for over 400 years, wild beavers were released at Knapdale Forest, Argyll, in May 2009.  This is a five year reintroduction project that aims to scientifically monitor the beavers and their effects on the Scottish environment. The results of this trial could help determine whether beavers are officially reintroduced into Scotland in the future.

The pack, targeting nursery to lower secondary students, takes in a broad spectrum of the Scottish curriculum, from the sciences, numeracy, mathematics and technologies, to literacy and English, social studies and the expressive arts.

With lesson plans and activities linked to the Curriculum for Excellence the Scottish Beaver Trial education pack ranges from concept cartoons, a nursery story and beaver mask making for younger children; to designing a beaver ecosystem, writing newspaper articles and debating the issues at hand for older pupils.

 Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell said: “More than three years ago I was delighted to announce that a small group of beavers would be brought back to the forests of Argyll.  This was a trial reintroduction of an animal hunted to extinction in Scotland centuries ago, and these charismatic little mammals appear to be flourishing with the birth of a number of kits last year.

“This pack has been designed to help teachers and pupils gain a better understanding of beavers – how they live, what they do and how they can improve the environment they live in.  Understanding the area in which you live is a key principle of Curriculum for Excellence, aiding pupils in gaining a greater understanding of the wider picture – of Scotland, Britain, Europe and the world.”

Stephen Woollard, Education and Interpretation Manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, adds: “We are delighted the Cabinet Secretary has helped launch our Curriculum for Excellence linked resource, to enable students throughout Scotland to discover and learn more about, not only the reintroduction of the beaver, but also their local environment and ecosystems.  

“The pack encourages teachers to take learning outdoors, and even if they can’t visit the beaver trial site in Knapdale, students across the country can still investigate natural places and biodiversity close to home, even in cities.  Beavers are one of the few species, like man, that can significantly modify their habitat and we hope that the resources provided encourage students to become responsible citizens and contribute to the conservation and future of Scotland’s natural environment.”

Teachers in every school in Scotland should look out for the pack arriving in the post in the next few weeks.

Scottish Beaver Trial education packs will roll out to schools across Scotland starting from this week.

For more information about the Scottish Beaver Trial, visit www.scottishbeavers.org.uk.

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