Encompass is a vision for empowering school students to have agency in the preservation of nature and the planet. Building on the initiative www.biojoyversity.org
which supports student collaboration and innovation with a group of 24 leading expert advisors, Encompass takes this a step forward in linking the arts and sciences in futures thinking. It aims to be a research centre for students and academics to look ahead involving the students whose future it will be. We have a major research project in development with Cambridge University to look at direct ways to increase biodiversity and engagement in primary schools. We already have ten partner primary schools locally as a pilot who we hope will visit this summer for nature workshops and musical opportunities. To enable these activities to happen all year round we need a space which can be used by schools, the community and internationally as a student hub for conferences, education and innovation.
The Encompass vision grows from a fundamental belief that the potential, ideas and creativity of young people must not be undervalued. Given support, young people grow and flourish to do amazing things. My school students devised a new cosmic ray detector which flew in space on TechDemoSat-1. They presented their results to NASA and published in Advances in Space Research. NASA then used this data for radiation monitoring on the Orion capsule in the Artemis programme. If we give young people the space, environment and encouragement they can turn from eco anxiety into genuine progress, understanding and positive ways forward.