Living Labs is the outdoor education and outreach arm of the Freshwater Research Centre, and the vision for the project is to help grow a network of schools, each connected to river which they adopt, monitor and draw inspiration and knowledge about science and biodiversity. The programme involves getting groups of learners out of the classroom and into a river for half a day where they learn about biodiversity the values of healthy ecosystems in a way that complements school curricula.
On the one hand the programme exposes learners to the wonders and values of healthy ecosystems, and thereby facilitates meaningful relationships between young people and their environment – the backbone of a more environmentally conscious and caring society. On the other, it provides an opportunity to learn hands on about science though conducting river health assessments which contribute valuable and reliable information that can be used by managers to better-conserve our precious river ecosystems.
Living Labs has reached 20 schools and 500 learners since its launch in March 2017. With your help, we are hoping to increase our reach to 50 schools and 1000 learners, with a focus on under-resourced schools, over the next year. All donations will be used to expand the reach of the programme and elevate the quality of the river outings that we facilitate.