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Communities area within the Inside and outside: educational innovation with nature-based solutions

The purpose of this project is to generate interest in Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), disseminate knowledge and provide educational material/guidance based on best practices. By engaging key stakeholders in long-term and sustainable NBS education and supporting NBS innovation, promotion, and implementation in a wide range of European communities, one can improve the well-being of present and future generations. 

Specific objectives of this coordination and support action of Horizon Europe are thus:

1. To enhance knowledge on NBS at all education levels: formal, informal, and non-formal. In formal education, different age groups of learners (e.g., primary school, high school, university students), are made aware of, and supported in understanding the importance and potential of nature in urban, rural, and coastal areas.

2. To utilise the digitalization of education as a tool to disseminate knowledge on nature while creating space and opportunities for all people to engage in valuing nature by taking incremental steps in understanding the role of nature in their lives.

3. To make communities more cohesive, participatory, respectful, and inclusive of a variety of voices when engaging with nature and equipping them with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills on the benefits of nature for health and wellbeing in local contexts.

4. To create synergies between educational professionals, NBS practitioners, communities, and policymakers to embed NBS in the sustainable development and wellbeing of European rural, coastal, and urban communities.

Other related objectives are:

a) Support integrated STEM teaching and Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) by exploring real-world applications of NBS, feeding into the broader EU STEM education strategy.

b) Explore and implement new dissemination and mobilisation strategies for broader lifelong learning on NBS through 21st century technologies and transversal skill development.

c) Explore synergies between NBS and the emerging field of education for environmental sustainability (EES).

The key challenges the project aims to address is the need for awareness within the wider public on NBS and that education is necessary to ensure long-term change, widespread NBS uptake and innovation. The H2020 Framework Programme has funded 30+ NBS projects, demonstrating innovative design, implementation, and maintenance of NBS all over Europe. Some of these, albeit few, have developed educational components. Yet, NBS materials and resources have not been collated and analysed systematically or made accessible to actors at the intersection of NBS and education. The educational potential of NBS remains largely unexplored – innovative programmes and resources around NBS have limited exposure in formal and informal education programmes for children and families. There is an urgency to incorporate innovations into education so that environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation can rapidly be mainstreamed into learning and teaching, which will greatly support the green transition. 

PPMI's role in particular is to lead work package 2 (WP2) on developing the background information and guiding framework for the study. It focuses on:
1. Mapping the status quo on NBS in education and assessment based on methods such as literature review, interviews and network building;

2. Use the lessons learnt from ongoing projects to develop guiding points for other partners on how to implement NBS in education successfully;

3. Mainstreaming best practice NBS and knowledge on NBS as gathered through the study through policy learning sessions towards the end of the project. 

In relation to these tasks, PPMI will prepare several important deliverables. The first in the state of the art report on NBS in education which highlights the latest trends, developments and challenges. In relation to this deliverable, PPMI is preparing an overview of an inventory of stakeholders and networks who can be utilised as the target audience of the current and future NBS collaborative projects. PPMI is also preparing a repository of practices to be developed in Power BI. The second deliverable sees the final repository and an overview of guiding points for partners. The final deliverable regards recommendations for policy makers across fields (e.g., agriculture, fisheries, education, employment and social affairs).