The nature pathway

What is the nature pathway and why do we need it?

We need naturalists more than ever in human history. Over the last 50 years, the skills of the naturalist have increasingly been lost, but they are vital to re-learn, not just because society is missing out on fascination and wonder, and not just because nature is good for our minds and souls, but because the emerging green economy depends on it. The startling fact is that over the last half century the world has lost 60% of the mass of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles and ecosystems are badly degraded. Studies at the University of Derby show that young people lose their interest in nature at around the age of 11 and may not recover it until they are in their 30s, many never do.

Bob Brewer Dohcyud44t4 Unsplash

What is badly needed is a defined nature pathway through education from junior school through to the end of tertiary and into the workplace.  The Nature Pathways will be supported by a network of Nature Hubs throughout the UK, connecting schools, business and industry to their local resources. By embedding nature literacy throughout society we will make the right decisions about protecting the environment and developing the economy. As the Dasgupta Review states:

Establishing the natural world in education policy is therefore essential. The development and design of environmental education programmes can help to achieve tangible impact, for example by focusing on local issues, and collaborating with scientists and community organisations.

The changes taking place in the natural world are indicators of the health of the planet and we must know how to read them.

Hannah B

Our Founder and Director, Mary Colwell, instigated and spearheaded the campaign for the Natural History GCSE. We are in the process of setting up a new organisation to develop the Nature Pathway. Until then, we will host information on the Curlew Action website. 

natural history gcse

After 11 years of campaigning, on 21 April 2022, the Department of Education approved the development of a GCSE in Natural History; it was a defining moment and one vital step towards creating a nature-literate society capable of taking on the environmental challenges we face. The GCSE in Natural History will teach young people how to identify, record and monitor their local nature, to understand different habitats and how they are interrelated, how to collect meaningful and useful data and how British wildlife connects to the wider world. 
"I care deeply and passionately about this planet and want every child and every adult to have the chance to connect with the life around them. We can turn around the environmental crises we face if we understand nature and care enough about it. To paraphrase the great Senegalese environmentalist Baba Dioum, will save only what we love, we will love only what we know and we will know only what we are taught. That is why we must have a Nature Pathway - for everyone, everywhere." - Mary Colwell

next steps

  • Fund a Nature Pathway through education and into the workplace, supported by a network of Nature Hubs around the country.


  • A central coordinator will work with local hubs to connect people to their local resources, be that online content, nature education providers, museums, local naturalists and environmental organisations and nature reserves.


  • Develop and maintain funding streams to grow and develop the nature pathway.
Nature Pathway

If you are interested in supporting the nature pathway, please contact

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