Earth Education UK

Welcome to the earth education UK blog!! Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or suggest new things for us to cover. If you have an article or photos you'd like us to share for you, please email them to

To find out more about earth education in the UK, go to

Monday, 6 October 2014

Magic Spots - the most important activity in earth education?

This simple activity is part of all earth education programmes. At Sunship Earth participants have many magic spots including early morning and night-time magic spots. Many youngsters report that the magic spot was their favourite activity. It is certainly a very engaging activity which gives close contact with the natural world. Dr Chris Walton has researched the impact of Magic Spots for his PhD and has collected some very moving reports from young people. Maybe he will share some of these with us?

First hand frequent contact with the natural world is crucial in creating an environmental ethic. Frequent and ongoing magic spots are also, I believe, good for mental and emotional welfare and I suspect also for physical well-being.

I frequently walk in the Wyre Forest, keeping up a brisk pace, sometimes pausing to look at birds through my binoculars. However, this week I realised that though I frequently extol the virtues of magic spots I had not treated myself to one of my own for a long time. So I did. I left the path, found a small tree surrounded by bracken and settled down. An hour passed very quickly!

Please share your own thoughts and experiences of magic spots and any observations that you have of their impact on youngsters.

John Rhymer

Where are they now?

Does anyone still  have contact with people who attended earth education programmes when youngsters? We like to think that an earth education programme has a lasting effect on participants. Research has shown that there is a lasting impact on understandings of ecological processes and on attitudes to helping the environment but such studies usually only follow up for 6 months up to two years after participating in a programme. Children move up through the education system and it is difficult to keep track of participants.

We know from running Wyre Forest Sunship Earth that a number of participants come back as young leaders on the programme and we can see that they love Sunship Earth and are keen to help other young people to have these experiences. Many go on to study environmental related subjects at University and/or train to be teachers. I sometimes  hear from friends whose children have attended the programme and they often report that their children have followed similar career pathways.

We also hear that many youngsters on returning home, pester their parents to adopt more environmentally responsible habits in the home. However this is often short lived! , Once they become teenagers they sometimes rebel against their family environmental good habits (parents who send their children to SSE are often pretty committed to living lightly in the first place). I suspect though that once teenage rebellion has passed, many reclaim their environmental commitments.

Do you know anyone who attended an earth education programme in the past? What are they doing now? Are they working in an environmentally related career? Volunteering? Demonstrate environmental good habits in their lives?  Please post your responses.

John Rhymer