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What are the Learning for Sustainability Task Groups?

Mon 23rd May 2016 - Task Group News

Abi Cornwall, Development Officer at Learning for Sustainability Scotland, gives an insight to the work of LfS Scotland and talks about how the task groups can become an incubator for exciting ideas and new collaborative projects.

Our membership grows by the day (current numbers are sitting at 1160) and many new members might not have had the chance yet to work out how LfS Scotland is organised and how members can get involved in the work that LfS Scotland does. As most people know, there is only a very small secretariat here at LfS Scotland with myself and Betsy King working in part time roles, so it is perfectly natural for members to ask ‘who actually does the work?’.

The answer to that is simple. It’s YOU!

As a member of LfS Scotland there are lots of ways to get involved in the work and the great thing is that you can be as closely involved as you wish, or you can still make an impact without having to dedicate a lot of time outside of your own role.

When joining up, members have the opportunity to sign up to receive our very popular monthly (free) e-bulletin. This is a great place to keep up to date with goings on with the Scotland (and beyond) wide LfS Scotland community.There are also opportunities throughout the year to network with like-minded members from a variety of industries and sectors at Learning for Sustainability events and at the events hosted by our members which are always promoted here on the website and in our bulletin.

These are great ways to learn new skills and to keep an interest in what’s happening out there in terms of learning for sustainability and as collaboration, communication and networking is at the heart of Learning for Sustainability Scotland – any connections you make enhances the network and makes it stronger.

But what if you’d like to get involved with the work of LfS Scotland that will have a real impact on your own work? What opportunities lie ahead then?

This is where the task groups come in. As you can see, our task groups encompass a wide and expanding range of subjects and can provide you with the chance to get involved in some interesting and inspiring collaboration with professionals who share the same interest and values as you. If there is a task group that is already up and running covering your own area of expertise, then you are encouraged to get involved, attend the meetings and work out how you can add value to the task group, but also how the collaboration and sharing of skills and ideas can add value to the work that you do.

Current task groups include projects working in the Higher Education and Further Education sectors, learning for sustainability in schools, learning for sustainability in the community, looking at the development of food pedagogy and the idea of analysing how connected children are to nature and how this can be measured. Past groups have included looking at community engagement within the values of learning for sustainability and we are in the process of setting up a group around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and another around heritage.

And if there still isn’t something that fits your own areas of interest? You can do what all of the other task group convenors did – which is to get in touch with us and talk to us about what you’d like to do. Do you have a great idea for a project that requires partnership to apply for funding? Do you have a piece of research that you’ve been thinking about for ages and would like to chat to similar people in other parts of the country that might be interested in linking together? Do you want to host a series of events around a learning for sustainability topic but aren’t sure how to get started? These are all great starting points for discussing setting up a group and getting the ball rolling in a new direction.

Judy Paul from RSPB Scotland is the task group convenor for the ‘Building Connections with Nature task group’. RSPB have been working on nature connectedness for a number of years and Judy found that “the task group is a brilliant opportunity for RSPB to progress with our work on nature connectedness in young people and to work with a diverse range of organisations who share similar aims. We now have 12 organisations  and three universities represented on our task group all sharing their operational experiences to enhance  connection to nature experiences, to gather evidence for policy makers and to research methodologies for measuring connectedness and putting out own practice to the test.  We are all really excited about the wider potential for this approach”.

Often the idea for a new task group comes to life after a short discussion with one other enthusiastic person – and people don’t always realise that their idea is something that can excite and inspire other people. By joining forces, you can start sharing skills and good practice, lightening the load in terms of work and outputs and creating partnerships that last way beyond the initial project. By setting the group up with LfS Scotland we can help you find members, we can provide office and events space, we can help you network with the rest of our members and we can promote your work to give your group as strong an opportunity as possible to fly.

If you would like to talk about getting involved in a task group that is already up and running, or if you have an idea that think might just benefit from a few LfS Scotland members coming together to talk through some ideas then get in touch with me to get things moving.

You can contact me by email or call 0131 650 9731 to discuss things further.

Looking forward to working with you.