Inspiring the Next Generation of Nature Champions

Gold Peak Partners, Equip, joined pupils from Spire Junior School in Chesterfield, for a day learning about upland habitats at the Moorland Discovery Centre near Hathersage. As the company behind Rab and Lowe Alpine, the staff at Equip know all about enjoying the great outdoors – whatever the weather. It’s a good job too as it was a particularly chilly day up on Burbage Moor!

Equip Outdoor Technologies UK, whose headquarters is in Alfreton, have been working with the Foundation to support Peak District Ambassador Schools. This inspiring initiative, set up by the Peak District National Park Authority, supports schools in and around the Peak District to build a closer connection with their local National Park.

Spire Junior School is one of 19 Ambassador Schools where pupils have been able to experience the benefits of outdoor learning and connecting with nature. The programme includes opportunities for visits from the Nature Park ranger team, online learning resources and tailored support to embed nature connection activities into the curriculum. Many Ambassador Schools are in localities where high numbers of pupils are eligible for free school meals and funding from Equip makes it possible for schools to travel to National Park for learning visits. Ultimately the hope is to inspire the next generation of nature champions who will go on to be future protectors of our National Parks.

Thanks to Equip, 90 students from Spire Junior School were able to get out of the classroom to explore moorlands first-hand. The children learnt how these threatened habitats are vital in our fight against climate change, while also providing homes for important species of plants and wildlife. The group were amazed by the sponge like qualities of sphagnum moss which can hold up to 20 times its own weight in water, helping to prevent flooding. This was especially relevant to the pupils of Spire Junior School as some of them had been evacuated from their homes during recent flooding in Chesterfield.

A long-lasting impact       

For many of the children this was their first visit into the National Park and they are keen to keep exploring! Anabelle Thompson, a member of staff at the school said the project has had a big impact; “The children still talk about the trip and, having never visited the Peak District before, many of the children now have an interest in the great outdoors and how we can all do better to protect nature”. Since their visit the school has decided to set up a Forest School area in the school grounds to encourage children to continue spending more time outside, enjoying and conserving nature.

At the Foundation we believe that Peak District National Park should be enjoyed and protected for everyone, forever. It has never been more important to build a community of people and businesses who want to play a vital role in protecting the future of our National Parks. We’re delighted that Equip and Spire Junior School are part of this community– we just hope the weather will be slightly better for their next visit!