Growing Wild Citizens @ school

Our Wild Citizens project has been active this year with a focus on growing food

sustainably through our PERu-funded Growing Wild Citizens @ school project, led by Dr Jenny Baverstock from the School of Biological Sciences and Prof Marcus Grace and Dr Andri Christodoulou from Southampton Education School. The project is also run with the support of two interns, Daniel Romero Saavedra and Maleeha Mahmuda, who have been running engaging hands-on activities in our two collaborating primary schools, Bitterne Manor Primary and St Monica Primary.

This action-oriented project encourages children to take a citizen science approach to thinking about the food they eat, and how to grow food plants in their school grounds in a sustainable way. The children monitor how their food plants grow, while considering their impact on health and wellbeing and on the environment. The children also develop skills to communicate their new knowledge and experiences within their community. The focus aligns with our research on the problematic supply of nutrients in the UK, and government policies on environmentally friendly food production, and links with the Southampton Healthy High 5 Award initiative. The project also draws on our previous work on nature literacy and the socioscientific inquiry-based learning approach.

Growing Wild Citizens @ school Activities
Delivery is through after- or in-school sessions, drawing on our existing research about food supply, and environmental citizenship engagement models we’ve previously developed ourselves.

Pupils will play an active part in planning and creating growing plots; learn how to monitor the plant growth, environmental parameters and associated pests and diseases; manage the data as part of the school maths, science, citizenship and PSHE curriculum.

As citizen scientists, pupils will discuss with the local community how growing our own food can benefit ourselves and our environment and the local cultural relevance of various food plants, becoming agents of change within their communities.

We have discussed the project with the university hub groups, the Campus Collective, Aldermoor Community Farm, Wild Hive and Biocycle, and plan to co-create sessions and activities with these partners and Tozer Seeds. We will also be working with Southampton City Council public health and environment teams.

Key elements of the educational approach throughout the project will be:

  • encouraging pupils to be curious, ensure agency and to adopt a questioning approach;
  • relating the project to pupils’ own meaningful experiences;
  • providing opportunities for reflection; ensuring that all pupils are engaged in some form of action to help them develop as citizen scientists.

Contact us:

Dr Jenny Baverstock,

Prof Marcus Grace,

Dr Andri Christodoulou,

Follow us on Twitter for further updates: @wild_citizens



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