When I think about the way our climate is changing, and the decline of our cherished wildlife, I’m optimistic about the future. That’s because I’m lucky enough to work in a job that is taking practical steps to tackle some of the biggest issues of our time. Having led the development of Mosaic, our brand-new education programme for schools, cubs and scouts, for the past two years, I am proud that we now have an exciting and unique educational programme that connects our young people with the natural world and educates them about how and why we must protect it.

Not only is Mosaic the result of two years of hard graft, dedication and setbacks, not least in the form of the global coronavirus pandemic, but it is also twenty years in the making. My journey began when I decided to retrain as a teacher in my early thirties. I subsequently gained experience teaching in both mainstream and independent primary schools. This life-changing decision was swiftly followed by another one, when I decided to move to Australia. Here, my love for wildlife became my passion. I gained experienced working in conservation, in wildlife rehabilitation centres and was involved in public awareness campaigns about the decline of native Australian wildlife.

Upon my return to the UK, I saw that there was a need for an education programme that pieced together the farming, wildlife and countryside mosaic into a harmonious and hopeful picture for children. My skills in teaching and knowledge of wildlife have allowed me to design three bespoke and engaging learning experiences, situated in the heart of the countryside, and all aligned to the national curriculum.

As the schools kick off a new year and regain some semblance of normality, I hope that Mosaic will help our dedicated teachers bring the joy and curiosity back into outdoor learning. Mosaic offers a safe and inspiring environment for students to learn key science lessons.

The pandemic showed just how important being outside is for our health and wellbeing, and our programmes help build on, and consolidate, the exceptional value that our community has placed on the countryside in recent months. We can all appreciate the distractions and exciting technology that invite us to spend more and more time inside, so it is more important than ever to seize the lockdown’s silver lining and celebrate the benefits of the great outdoors.

Looking to the future, I hope that Mosaic will go from strength to strength so we can expand or visit programmes to incorporate sessions on growing, seasonality, healthy eating and even cooking. I also hope that we can roll out this educational blueprint across a larger number of Countryside Restoration Trust farms and give more children and schools the opportunity to benefit from this unique experience.