Jess brought along her minibeasts to give children direct hands-on contact with wildlife 1/3
The children enjoyed a minibeast hunt in the Sure Centre grounds, with Jess and the education team 2/3
NWT Vice President, John Snape and senior education officer, Annabel Hill with the lottery funding 3/3

Jess French joins Norfolk Wildlife Trust as Children’s Ambassador

Tuesday 01 May, 2018

Our new Sure Start project will engage with children and families at the very start of their lives, giving them hands-on, crucial contact with the natural world.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce CBeebies presenter and children’s author, Jess French as its first ever Children’s Ambassador. Jess will support our new Sure Start with Nature project, which highlights the importance of children having access to nature. The project, which is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund will deliver a number of activities to help support and improve children’s development.

Jess said: “As Children’s Ambassador for NWT I am delighted to support the exciting new programme with Sure Start, which introduces children to the natural world from the very beginning of their development.  Amid this fast-paced world of technology and ultra-connectivity, I am so pleased that we are able to offer young children a way to calm their busy minds, engage with plants and animals and make real and important connections with nature.”

Today we began the first Children And Nature project, working with the under-fives at Sure Start centres in Great Yarmouth, Thetford and Corpusty. Jess brought along minibeasts including a praying mantis and scuttling cockroach to let the children have direct hands-on contact with wildlife. The children also enjoyed a minibeast hunt in the grounds of the centre, armed with brushes and bug pots.

Senior education officer at NWT, Annabel Hill said: “we are really excited to be able to work with children and families at the very start of their lives. We’ll be running monthly interactive sessions, sensory play and nature-themed walks. Coming up is a session on bees, which will involve much buzzing around, performing a waggle dance, and making wax candles. We’ll also be providing treasure baskets for our baby explorers, which will contain natural objects such as acorns and conkers for them to handle. Part of the project is working with new parents to improve their health and well-being by having contact with nature, such as on wildlife walks and visits to nature reserves.”

This is the first project of NWT’s Children And Nature fund, which was established by NWT Vice President, John Snape and his family to help children and young people enjoy and value the nature that surrounds them in Norfolk.  NWT also received a grant of £7,770 of National Lottery funding and further support from the Norwich branch of White Stuff, specifically for the Sure Start project.  

Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce said: “This funding is fantastic news for local children and local wildlife. Research shows that children today have far fewer opportunities than previous generations to explore and discover wildlife and spend much less time outside. We are delighted that it gives us the ability to work with Sure Start Centres which do an excellent job engaging the very young and their families.”
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