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Xplore! raises awareness of climate change and environment amongst public during COP26 and beyond!

21 Apr 2022

Xplore! raises awareness of climate change and environment amongst public during COP26 and beyond!

Xplore! raises awareness of climate change and environment amongst public during COP26 and beyond

  • 30,000 people attended Operation Earth events held mostly during COP26, including Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton.
  • 85% of attendees reported increased interest in climate and environmental science after attending the events.
  • The events covered key themes of air pollution, oceans, climate change and biodiversity.
  • 10 Centres from across England Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales delivered the Operation Earth over a six-month period.

Operation Earth is a national STEM engagement project run by the Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) and in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The project aims to bring the relevance of NERC’s climate and environmental science and research to life among children and families.

The project ran in science and discovery centres across the UK, including Xplore!, from October 2021-March 2022 with the majority of activities being directly linked to COP26 in November 2021. The activities provided children and families with the opportunity to find out what environmental scientists are working on, and to practice these skills for themselves. Attendees took part in hands on activities including using a leaf blower to collect air samples and investigate air quality, looking at the carbon footprint of popular foods and learning how pollination works, as well as meeting NERC scientists. An evaluation of Operation Earth found that:

  • 92% of attendees who provided feedback said they are now able to see a connection between climate and environmental sciences and their own lives.
  • 85% of respondents said they are more interested in climate and environmental science topics following the activities.
  • 83% of respondents said they were more likely to speak to family and friends about climate and environmental sciences.

Association for Science and Discovery Centres Chief Executive Shaaron Leverment said: “Operation Earth has demonstrated the crucial role that science and discovery centres, museums and eco-attractions play in delivering accessible, hands-on and place-based climate and environmental science engagement activities. Science and discovery centres and museums collaborated with local industry, key environmental researchers and policy makers across the UK. These local partnerships result in relevant and empowering experiences for schools, families and young people, supporting the Government’s agenda for levelling up and net zero."

Sarah Atherton MP for Wrexham said “It was a wonderful opportunity to see the engagement that Xplore! is facilitating within the local Wrexham community. It really highlighted the importance of engaging whole families around such a crucial issue for the modern world.”

Dawn Pavey, Projects Officer, Xplore! said: “Xplore! has once again enjoyed being part of the Operation Earth programme. Our biggest achievement numbers wise was engaging visitors to our centre with the family show. Our biggest impact was building relationships with families in their local communities with activities over several weeks. The highlight was hearing all the great ideas held by children and young people as to how we need to change.”

Hannah Lacey, Senior Public Engagement Programme Manager at the Natural Environment Research Council said “Operation Earth has inspired over 600,000 school aged children and their families to explore NERC’s environmental research. It has been a pleasure to work closely on this project with the Association for Science and Discovery Centres, who have continued to engage children and families throughout the challenges of COVID 19. They have also delivered innovative engagement around COP26; inspiring young people to get involved in environmental science.”

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