Environmental science programme for kids kicks off at UK centres

child looking at liquid in a beaker

A national programme to engage school-aged children and their families with climate change and environmental science kicks off today (Youth Climate Action Day).

Operation Earth Phase 2 will take place across seven UK science and discovery centres in:

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Cheshire
  • Leicester
  • Birmingham
  • Belfast
  • Wrexham.

The programme aims to teach children about climate change, the environment and Earth observation including how scientists are using space and satellites to understand changes to our climate here on Earth.

Inspiring kids

Each centre will create its own projects using Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funding in partnership with the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC):

  • Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh is working with young carers to offer special Operation Earth boxes full of hands-on activities
  • the team at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire have set up after-school STEM clubs with local schools to bring fun climate and environmental science activities to children
  • Glasgow Science Centre is hosting slots on its community radio and has launched Spark magazine to share climate and other science with a wider audience during the lockdowns.

In phase one of the programme, launched in 2018, more than 200,000 children and adults participated in person, and over 37,000 met and talked to environmental science researchers at ‘meet the expert’ events.

The first phase also saw Earthy, from the Operation Earth family show visit Downing Street as part of Green Great Britain Week. 

Exciting projects across the UK

This year, with families facing coronavirus restrictions and science centres intermittently closed due to lockdowns, many children and schools are unable to visit. Phase two will focus on engaging children and families at home and online with fun activities and will connect children and families with some of the UK’s most talented environmental research scientists.

The seven science centres are: 

  • Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Cheshire
  • National Space Centre, Leicester
  • Thinktank and Birmingham Museums Trust, Birmingham
  • W5, Belfast
  • Xplore!, Wrexham, Wales.

Dr Penny Fidler, the CEO of ASDC and Programme Director of Operation Earth said:

We are delighted to be leading this climate and environmental science programme in partnership with NERC. 200,000 people took part in our first phase, and this new programme reaches into communities with the latest climate science.

We hope children and families across our nation will be inspired by the science so they can explore, discuss and question – and perhaps inspire change locally or become the environmental innovators, entrepreneurs, and scientists of our future.

Alison Robinson, NERC’s Director or Corporate Affairs, added:

Operation Earth is a creative and engaging programme designed to inspire our children and young people. We are thrilled that despite a challenging year, we are kicking off a new phase of the project with the Association of Science and Discovery Centres.

Young Climate Action Day is all about tackling climate change. I hope this programme might help spark a passion for environmental science, and inspire children to become the next generation of scientists, innovators and industry leaders who help to solve some of these big challenges we face.

Further information

For more information visit the Operation Earth website.

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