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Welcome to Learning About Forests (LEAF)

Using nature as a classroom

What is LEAF?

Learning about Forests is a learning programme that advocates outdoor learning and hands-on experiences, resulting in pupils gaining a deeper and more involved understanding of the natural world.

The key aims of the LEAF programme are to:

  • Reconnect children and young people with natural environments
  • Promote and expand outdoor education
  • Improve knowledge of forest-based ecosystems

No Forest Needed!

While the focus of the LEAF programme is on tree-based ecosystems, the skills and knowledge can be acquired and applied in any natural environment. Our definition of forest is wide and can include marine forests and urban ecosystems. Anyone can take part in LEAF, no matter where they live. 

Interested in taking part? LEAF is an annual programme following the school year, with registration closing in October. Registration for 2023 is now closed, but you can sign up to take part next year (starting August 2024). 

Like Eco-Schools, LEAF is one of five programmes operated internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful in Scotland.  Find out more about LEAF worldwide by visiting the LEAF international website.

The LEAF Award

The LEAF award demonstrates a commitment to outdoor and nature based education, as well as knowledge and understanding of the crucial roles of forest based ecosystems. 

Our introductory video for pupils and educators explains further. 

Introductory video for pupils and educators about LEAF

Climate Action Schools - What's Happening?

Visit our Padlet for a summary of what's coming up across all our Climate Action Schools programmes, including Live Lessons, training for pupils and educators, and other exciting opportunities. 

Keep track of your LEAF work and our offering of lessons and training with our new Climate Action Schools planner. Printable on A3 to write on.  Download a copy here.

The Forest Cycle

Completion of all elements of the Forest Cycle qualifies you for a LEAF Award. Visit our How to Guide for details of how to complete the programme.

The Forest Cycle is similar to the Eco Schools seven elements, but this is a smaller award, requiring fewer actions. As such it can be counted towards an Eco Schools Green Flag application, or as a standalone project for schools who want to work towards something a bit smaller.  

Why take part?

Unique opportunity to support the Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030 in a new format that can be integrated into day-to-day teaching.

Improved mental wellbeing and academic outcomes for pupils.

Improved confidence for teachers in outdoor learning.

No charge to take part - fully funded by the Scottish Government.

Open to all age ranges, from early years to secondary.

Can be counted towards an Eco-Schools Green Flag Award.

Visit our Examples page for ideas of how you can integrate LEAF into your setting.

Nicola Davidson
Get in touch with:
Nicola Davidson
Education and Learning Officer

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