Thursday, 12 September 2013

Students Aim to Spark Interest in the Natural World

Designs from graphics student Tom Game

(This is a copy of a UW News Article)
Graphic Design students from the University of Worcester have been working alongside a children’s author on a project designed to encourage children’s engagement with nature.

The students were asked to research and develop graphical solutions to help authors Gyles Morris and John Cook – of rural studies centre Naturesbase – to create an activity book that would appeal to school age children.

The concept for the book came about in response to growing discussion linked to ‘nature deficit disorder’- a condition associated with British children losing touch with the natural world.

Author Gyles explains: “All of the recent research into children’s lifestyles points to the remarkable collapse of their engagement with nature and the huge reductions in time and growing restrictions on playing outdoors. Growing numbers of children are missing out on the real experiences of the natural world and the awe and wonder of being amongst trees, wildlife and landscapes.”

After spending time at the University and continually monitoring the students’ progress, Gyles and his team are now in the process of reviewing the various student submissions, and he believes that the link-up between Naturesbase and the University has been successful.

He adds: “The collaboration between our rural studies centre and the Graphic Design & Multimedia course has been an exciting one and especially informative, with the project now ready to go to the next stage.”

Senior Lecturer in Design, Andy Stevenson, says that the project has been beneficial to his students in a number of ways:

“The subject matter has touched on various areas including sustainability, learning activity design and methods to help re-engage primary age children with their natural environment.”
He continues: “It’s been a great collaboration to undertake and Gyles’ workshop earlier in the year took the students out of the classroom and made them really think again about the value of their outdoor environment.”

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