The popular national programme to engage school-aged children and their families with climate change and environmental science kicks off today on Youth Climate Action Day.
Operation Earth Phase 2 will take place across 7 UK science and discovery centres including Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.
The programme aims to inspire children, families and communities about climate change, the environment and earth observation including how scientists are using space and satellites to understand changes to our climate here on Earth.
Exciting projects across the UK
Each centre will create their own projects using Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funding in partnership with the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC).
Here at Jodrell Bank, we’ve set up brand new after-school virtual science clubs to bring the fun climate and environmental science activities to local children and their families. Meanwhile, Glasgow Science Centre is hosting slots on their community radio and Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh is working with young carers to offer special Operation Earth Boxes full of hands-on activities.
In Phase 1 of the programme, launched in 2018, more than 200,000 children and adults participated across the UK, and over 37,000 of these met and talked to environmental science researchers at ‘meet the expert’ events. The first phase also saw Earthy, from the Operation Earth family show visit Downing Street as part of Green Great Britain Week.
At Jodrell Bank, Operation Earth Phase 1 involved:
- Delivering science shows to a total audience of over 7,000 children and young families, including at their award-winning festival of discovery, bluedot and through a dedicated autism-friendly show.
- Providing 229 hours of hands-on activities for visitors to Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
- Helping a host of children and young families create over 200 environmentally friendly plant pots to plant and grow their own wildflowers.
- Presenting 5 special Meet the Expert sessions with environmental scientists.
- Engaging a further 300 people with outreach activities including at the University of Manchester’s Community Festival.
- Giving out 70 Bee Backpack trails to visiting children to explore the Jodrell Bank Arboretum via fun bee-related games and activities
- Inspiring over 2,500 Jodrell Bank visitors to make their own planet pledge!
Inspiring kids to get active on climate change
This year, with families facing coronavirus restrictions and Science Centres intermittently closed due to lockdowns, many children and schools are unable to visit. Phase 2 will focus on engaging children and families at home and online with fun activities and will connect children with some of the UK’s most talented environmental research scientists.
Julia Riley, Head of Engagement at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: “We’re thrilled to be taking part in Operation Earth Phase 2. Phase 1 was a huge success and enabled us to reach thousands of people and engage them with climate science. As we move to phase 2, we’re really looking forward to finding new ways to inspire local children and their families via online science clubs.”
Dr Penny Fidler, the CEO of ASDC and Programme Director of Operation Earth said: “We are delighted to be leading this climate and environmental science programme in partnership with NERC. Their world-leading scientists have done so much brilliant research into climate, and it is clear we as a society need to make rapid progress towards net zero.
“200,000 people took part in our first phase of Operation Earth, and this new programme reaches into communities with the latest climate science. We hope children and families across our nation will be inspired by the science and how it’s done, so they can explore, discuss and question – and perhaps inspire change locally, or become the environmental entrepreneurs and scientists of our future.”
Alison Robinson, NERC’s Director or Corporate Affairs, added: “Operation Earth is a creative and engaging programme designed to inspire our children and young people. We are thrilled that despite a challenging year, we are kicking off a new phase of the project with the Association of Science and Discovery Centres.
“Youth Climate Action Day is all about tackling climate change. I hope this programme might help spark a passion for environmental science, and inspire children to become the next generation of scientists, innovators and industry leaders who help to solve some of these big challenges we face.”
For more information visit the Operation Earth website: www.operationearth.co.uk