Connect With Nature

Northumberland National Park are launching a new education programme, highlighting the importance of nature in young people’s education, health and wellbeing. In order to kick off the programme the National Park are gifting every first school in Northumberland with a copy of multi award winning book, The Lost Words, which is the subject of the current exhibition at The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre.

The Lost Words is a book of spells by artist Jackie Morris and author Robert Macfarlane and is a catalyst for a range of learning using nature as inspiration. The artwork from the book is currently on display at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre and was visited by Morris last week.

The Lost Words explores a series of 20 spell-binding poems by Macfarlane, accompanied by 50 of Morris’ beautiful watercolours. Aiming to revive and uncover the near-lost magic and strangeness of nature that surrounds us. Lost Words conjures back words all but lost from the vocabulary of children – such as Acorn, Bramble, Lark, Weasel, Willow and Wren.

This new education initiative comes as research shows that nature and the outdoors will be a benefit to children in their learning as they return to school in a post-COVID-19 world. During lockdown, many families discovered nature through walks across the Park, and noticed how nature enhanced their health and wellbeing at a difficult time.

The education programme at The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre is currently supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Barbour Foundation and delivered 8,556 pupil engagements in 2019/2020. The programme helps children connect and learn from the landscape and nature, something that has been shown to be vital to their intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development.

Morris said: “Robert and I are both thrilled that our book is being given to schools in this amazing county.

“We hope children will find confidence in exploring the book and the landscape and love seeing the astonishing work they produce using The Lost Words as a catalyst. Having the exhibition hosted at The Sill is just wonderful”.

Tony Gates, CEO of Northumberland National Park Authority said: “We are delighted to get our new education programme underway this September with the gift of The Lost Words to every first and primary school in Northumberland. We want to welcome schools back to our landscapes with a message of hope and renewal.

“We saw how families connected with nature on walks near their homes during lockdown and we hope the Lost Words and the National Park will be the catalyst which helps inspire a generation to care for the environment in which they live in.”

For information on the education programme, please contact [email protected]