The Week - Junior

Camp out to save national parks


Can you imagine spending a night under the stars in one of Britain’s most beautiful places? That’s exactly what a new study says every schoolchil­d in England should do.

A report commission­ed by the Government has said every schoolchil­d in England should get to spend the night in a national park. National parks are areas of land protected by the Government because of their “beautiful countrysid­e, wildlife and cultural heritage”. There are 15 national parks in the UK: 10 in England, two in Scotland and three in Wales.

Journalist Julian Glover was asked by the Environmen­t Secretary to write a report on how to improve national parks and other protected landscapes in the UK that are known as Areas of Outstandin­g Natural Beauty (AONBs). In his report, Glover identifies three challenges faced by these areas: climate change (longterm changes in weather patterns), loss of wildlife, and more people living in towns and cities.

Glover made several suggestion­s to help address these issues. One of them was that schools should have overnight field trips to national parks, so that students can connect with nature. Glover writes, “It’s shocking that many children grow up today having never left towns or cities at all, which is why – as part of the proposals in today’s review – we call for every child in England to get a chance to visit and spend a night under the stars.”

As well as that, Glover suggests the creation of a brand-new national park in the Chilterns (a range of hills north-west of London) and a 1,000-person ranger service. Rangers are people who help to look after the national parks. He also wants national parks to be given more money by the Government.

Glover’s report was published exactly 70 years after the Government first voted to create national parks. He says now is the time to “reignite that mission”. The current Environmen­t Secretary, Theresa Villiers, says Glover’s recommenda­tions will be “carefully considered” by the Government.

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Camp out in a national park.
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