Schoolchildren are to be given lessons in how to film wildlife as part of a new project at a community woodland and meadow near York.
From this spring, former York University biologist Nicholas Atherton will give talks about exploring wildlife in schools and will host workshops for primary and secondary age children at Three Hagges Wood-Meadow in Escrick.
Mr Atherton will also deliver a weekend-long workshop specifically focused on capturing wildlife on film and there will be a photography competition for children aged between eight and 16.
The activities are intended to give young people the chance to explore wildlife alongside professional ecologists.
Mr Atherton, 22, said he was keen for young people to reconnect with the outdoors, away from digital distractions such as computer games.
He said: “With more electronic entertainment options appearing every year, fewer young people spend their free time roaming the local countryside and engaging with their natural heritage.
“By providing local children with an opportunity to explore in a safe environment and learn from expert ecologists at the Three Hagges Wood-Meadow, we can hopefully inspire the next generation of researchers and recorders.”
The project is funded by The Hagge Woods Trust with a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and it culminates with an exhibition and photography competition prizegiving in September.
As part of the project, the Trust is also teaming up with Girlguiding UK Abbey Division and The Scout Association Selby District to create a nature badge for young members to work towards.
Alison Cunningham, Selby’s Girlguiding commissioner, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for our young people to learn about local wildlife, to gain new skills and to engage with a community initiative.”