The project addresses the loss of skills for meaningful engagements with nature, and seeks to encourage school-age children to spend time in place, look for traces of nature and study and document their findings. We are working with schools in Morecambe Bay, as part of their Key-Stage 2 curriculum.
We will provide each participating child with a toolkit for capturing photographic impressions (cyanotypes) of nature specimens found and collected in Morecambe Bay. The toolkit includes four albums of photo-sensitive paper, an information sheet to help with specimen identification and description, stickers with prompt questions to add notes, and templates to add additional information to the guide, as well as a map to mark locations.
The images data from the logbooks will be collected on a map that will be printed and sent to the participating schools.
A key aspect of this activity is its slowness, which is in stark contrast with the immediacy and simplicity of most digital naturalist platforms that are available online. Searching for samples, carefully positioning them on paper, waiting for the image to appear and handwriting details and impressions will require them to spend time in place with nature. It will foster a deep engagement with blue/green natural environment, with the aim of promoting curiosity, a sense of belonging and custodianship of place, and individual and community wellbeing.