Gill Stevens Award will bring youngsters closer to nature

Schoolchildren in London will be able to get hands-on with nature thanks to a new award set up in memory of OPAL’s deputy director.

The Gill Stevens Award, which will run for five years, will enable seven school groups each year to visit one of the Royal Parks for a fieldwork session led by an experienced tutor from the Field Studies Council (FSC).

Gill Stevens pond dipping

The OPAL-funded scheme is named after Ms Stevens, a core part of the OPAL team in its early years, who died from cancer aged just 45 in January 2011.

FSC tutors will use activities linked to OPAL’s national surveys to show schools what can be achieved in the parks near them and encourage them to incorporate more outdoor learning into lessons.

Funding will be targeted at schools in London which are among the 20% most deprived in England.