Every time I have mentioned this idea I get an overwhelmingly positive response. It seems to me that one answer to our increasingly worrying disconnect from nature is to introduce a GCSE in natural history.
In the past Britain’s reputation for recording its natural history was unsurpassed anywhere in the world, as a result we know a lot about our animals and plants, woodlands and wetlands. That knowledge is invaluable in helping us decide the best way to manage our natural environment, and in the years to come we will be faced with huge challenges. If we educate the next generation about natureand equip them with the skills to observe, record, make field notes, take pictures, understand local ecology etc then we will be in a much better state to tackle what's ahead.
The GCSE could also broaden to include the history of natural history recording (Gilbert White et al), its influence on art and culture and modern natural history in the media (natural history programming), the growth of NGOs and their work etc. There is a welath of aspects to explore.
A formal qualification will be a good step in helping increase interest in our natural environment and what it needs to maintain vibrancy and integrity.
I spoke to Tony Juniper yesterday - ex head of Friends of the Earth and green party candidate - who was very enthusiastic.
I've asked the Institute of Biology what they think and they have put on their website an online survey - do post what you think, its just a click yes or no.
I'm preparing a document to send round to NGOs and others who might be interested to see if I can get a body of people to support it and get in on the education agenda.
I would have loved to have done a natural history qualification, I hope it flies and young people get a chance to understand and work with nature.