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Thousands of nature activities completed by primary school children at WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre

WWT’s AWARD-WINNING project engages children from underrepresented communities using stories to help them connect with nature.

Through Generation Wild, a project spearheaded by WWT, the charity for wetlands and wildlife, 6,135 nature activities have been completed by children who traditionally have fewer opportunities to make meaningful connections with nature at WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre.

Over 3,100 children in South Wales have heard the magical story of Ava, half-girl, half-bird, and completed Ava’s nature connection activities at home, such as building a bird nest, making a bug hotel and gazing at stars in the night-sky.

WWT’s National Learning Manager, Mark Stead, said: “Nature is for everyone. But we know there are various barriers, including cost and accessibility, that make it more challenging for some children to get outside and build meaningful connections with the natural world.

“That’s why we’re so thrilled about the positive impact that Generation Wild continues to have. Feedback from teachers, parents and children has been glowing, and points towards a significant improvement in mental wellbeing, care and concern for nature – as well as a greater crossover between learning inside and outside the classroom.

“As we celebrate delivering 100,000 nature connection activities, we hope that others will be inspired by the difference that nature connection makes to children’s wellbeing, confidence and care and concern for nature.”

Sarah Mitchell, Learning Manager at WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre, continues: “Through Generation Wild we have worked with 68 local schools and thousands of local children and their families to help them connect with nature.  

“The curiosity, deepening interest, and happiness that’s been shown and continues to grow has been a joy to witness.  We’re delighted to be supporting children on a life-long journey as nature lovers.”

Laura Jeremy, a teacher from Melin Primary, commented on her pupil’s Generation Wild experience: “My class has developed excellent links with nature, through a hook (Ava’s story) to promote and investigate nature and our immediate surroundings. My children were really engaged.”

This milestone comes fresh off the back of another award win for the Generation Wild project, for the Best Contribution Towards Transforming Nature Connection by the Outdoor Recreation Network (ORN), a network organisation spanning the UK and Ireland which shares best practice and research on public engagement with the outdoors.

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An independent research study is being conducted by Cardiff University, which looks at the impact of the Generation Wild project on children’s connection to nature and mental wellbeing.

The interim findings show an improvement in both aspects post-participation, with the full report expected in the Autumn.