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04 September, 2014

Aberdeenshire pair win award for teaching in nature

Two Aberdeenshire Primary School teachers have received recognition today (Wednesday) for taking the classroom outdoors and improving the learning experiences of their pupils.

Kathryn Catlow of Insch Primary, and Charlotte Glennie from Balmedie Primary were awarded Professional Recognition in Outdoor Learning from The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), having taken part in the Teaching in Nature project run by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Professional Recognition is awarded by the GTCS to teachers who develop their knowledge, understanding and practice in a particular area to the benefit of their pupils.

The Teaching in Nature project puts teachers in touch with local experts in special places, such as nature reserve managers and countryside rangers. Kathryn and Charlotte met site manager Annabel Drysdale on Forvie National Nature Reserve, to learn about the reserve and discuss its teaching potential, before planning and delivering a series of visits to Forvie with their pupils.

Sharon Cunningham of SNH said: “The benefits of outdoor experiences for young people’s learning, behaviour and health are now well recognised and learning outdoors is an important part of the curriculum. However, teachers often need help to provide this and Teaching in Nature offers this support.”

Kathryn and Charlotte believe Teaching in Nature has had a positive impact on their practice. Charlotte said: “This experience has definitely increased my confidence in taking children outdoors and teaching them about nature. My relationship with the children has also grown deeper: I believe that children see you in a different light when learning outdoors.”

Kathryn added: “I am going to make a more conscious effort to ensure that I plan more regular use of the outdoors to enhance learning. I am yet to explore all areas around my school and, who knows, I am sure there are many more fantastic local areas like Forvie that I didn’t know existed before!”

And Annabel Drysdale stressed the project can also be beneficial for site managers, commenting: “Teaching in Nature allows teachers access to and experience of the site without being a huge draw on our time – something that is desperately valuable during the busy summer months.”

Notes to editors

For further information on the Teaching in Nature project, contact

Teaching in Nature supports groups of teachers to work together to use a nearby place special for nature to plan, implement and evaluate challenging and fun outdoor learning experiences for their pupils. It combines collaborative, practical and online learning to support teachers through the next stage in their outdoor learning journey.

Forvie National Nature Reserve is one of Scotland's most dramatic stretches of coast. Shifting sands blown into towering dunes, a wide estuary of mudflats, open heathland dotted with summer orchids, it is home to thousands of birds.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is the independent professional body which promotes and regulates the teaching profession in Scotland.

GTCS Professional Recognition provides the opportunity teachers to focus on and develop their professional learning in particular areas of interest and/ or expertise and gain recognition for enhancing their knowledge, understanding and practice.

Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at SNH media is also now on Twitter at

Contact information

SNH Media

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

’S e NatureScot buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Bidh sinn a’ neartachadh àrainneachd na h-Alba agus a’ brosnachadh dhaoine gu barrachd suim a chur ann an nàdar. Tha e mar phrìomhachas againn gum bi nàdar na h-Alba beairteach agus gun dèilig sinn gu h-èifeachdach le èiginn na gnàth-shìde. Tha an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh aig no air Twitter aig