Trash Free Trails launches outdoor educational course to support wellbeing and nature connection in young people

Trash Free Trails (TFT) has launched an outdoor educational course, aiming to tackle environmental disconnection in young people.

The TrashMob Academy is a youth engagement project offering young people the opportunity to learn mountain biking, running and hiking skills whilst developing positive environmental attitudes, connections to nature and an understanding of litter.

Using outdoor education as a catalyst for behaviour change, the TrashMob Academy employs a combination of classroom content, outdoor physical activity and local trail cleaning to improve self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing for both students and their local environment.

Trash Free Trails programmes manager Rich Breedon said: “Giving young people the opportunity to experience the world around them in a way they might never have previously is something really special. We believe this opportunity is a stepping stone to developing the generation of happy, healthy environmental stewards our world desperately needs.”

The programme advocates for the necessity of kinesthetic and outdoor learning opportunities for children and adolescents, most especially those with additional needs, limited access to green space, and for those facing the adverse effects of social inequality.

Delivered as a pilot programme in Wakefield in 2020, the TrashMob Academy has already had successes, with students who completed the pilot displaying a renewed sense of responsibility and confidence by the end of the course, with profound development seen in their interpersonal skills and self-expression.

Now in its final form, the programme is available as an integrated curriculum item or as a bolt-on activity in schools and educational settings.

Read more: Just 14% of parents feel very confident to teach their children cycling using the Highway Code, new research reveals

To kick start the programme’s official launch, TFT will take the TrashMob Academy on tour, delivering the course to three schools in North West England. A remote version of the programme’s content is available via the release of TFT’s first E-Learning course with online learning provider Udamon, called Contribution for Connections.

The tour will then settle at High Lodge, Thetford Forest, to deliver TrashMob Academy LIVE on 21st October in collaboration with Go Ape and Forestry England. This live-streamed, interactive session will invite learners from across the world to participate in TrashMob Academy content.

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