Ecole & Nature: Environmental Education to Help People Understand the World, Take Action, and Live in Harmony
Réseau Ecole & Nature (REN) is France’s national network of environmental and sustainable development education providers, bringing together more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations and 29 regional networks recognized for their expertise in the area. Since 1983, REN has supported leaders of collaborative environmental education projects throughout France, including nonprofits, local authorities, public organizations, companies, and educators. REN helps them develop their programs, makes it easier to pool expertise, and devises innovative educational resources.
Total Foundation has chosen to support REN activities focused on both education and civic participation.
A Piece of Green for All
People are spending more and more time shut indoors, but contact with nature is critical to our development, well-being, and physical and mental health. A few years ago, several frontline stakeholders, environmental educators, facilitators and teachers came up with Coins Nature (Pieces of Green), an accessible way of providing contact with nature on a daily basis.
Total Foundation supports the development of Coins Nature in its host communities and regions, giving residents the opportunity to reconnect with nature and watch, learn about and promote biodiversity in action.
Following a call for projects within the REN network, nine initiatives were chosen to receive support over three years. They are all located in Total’s host regions, are based on a collaborative approach, and involve young people in the design and setup phases. Coins Nature programs aim to educate young people about how to protect the environment, forge social bonds and improve well-being.
An Environmental Education Research Program
Total Foundation is also funding the “Growing up with Nature” program, which was set up in 2016 by REN and France’s environmental education training and research institute, IFREE. Based on classroom observation, the program aims to study the effects that different teaching methods have on children’s development and understanding of environmental issues, and adapt learning materials accordingly. Putting nature at the heart of education is an innovative way to ensure that young people are the future architects of sustainable development.