3.1. Finding and enacting the curriculum in urban and rural treescapes

This sub-WP will study young people’s learning and relationships with trees. It draws on over ten years of university-community collaborative landscape research at Bennachie in Aberdeenshire (12). Through landscape history and palaeoecology, the team will explore how schools and young people in rural and urban regeneration areas can ‘find and enact their curriculum’ within treescapes, and will spread awareness amongst CYP of the dynamic history of British woodlands.


Academic, partner, and youth co-researchers, will use methods in landscape research (archival and survey work, pollen analysis), social science (interviews, walking methods) and environmental education to collaborate with CYP on researching the heritage of woods and trees in north-east Scotland, and CYP’s experiences within them. CYP’s ecological learning will be developed and evaluated through the co-production of the Tree Twining carbon mitigation toolkit, (WP2: Weatherall, Owen, Carr), and the development of two new records of vegetation history for Bennachie. The latter will involve the collection of sediment cores from damp contexts (peats, lake muds and/or soils) situated within, or adjacent to, existing lowland woodlands in the area, with analysis of their microfossil content (pollen, spores, and microscopic charcoal). Chronologies for the cores will be provided using radiocarbon (14C) dating.

Linking to archival work on historic urban and rural treescapes, through the creation of radio broadcasts and film supported by Station House Media Unit, the team will work with CYP to advocate for trees and to explore intergenerational experiences of families and the community of the value of treescapes in their lives. This will form the basis for mapping how learning with trees can contribute to the development and enactment of a range of areas of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.
Co-production of curriculum-based research will be further facilitated through supporting teachers to become researchers (13), addressing the Scottish Government’s Action Plan for Learning for Sustainability, (2019). This will inform the curriculum development work across the WPs.
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