The story we find ourselves in
We live in a world where science and environmental conservation are increasingly defined by three worrying trends:
- The disconnect between professional science and formal science education, which often fails to capture the frontier spirit of scientific research
- Decontextualised learning: we gain knowledge of the world at the expense of knowing our very own backyards
- The erosion of practical and vocational skills in favour of “head knowledge”
UBI, through our flagship Backyard Explorers programme, aims to address this by returning to our most basic instinct for discovery, to “go out there” and see what we might find. Our students can expect some old-school “natural philosophy,” driven by adventure, curiosity and mutual fun. There is no discovery without risk, no insight without exploration. And so we stimulate the imagination, we encourage creativity. To inspire, and be inspired.
Topical modules balance structured and unstructured elements, providing students a “directed freedom” to make discoveries for themselves, and improving scientific literacy through hands-on exploration and resource creation.
Community- and family-based learning with an emphasis on positive values and environmental ethics, as well as appreciation of local context.
Using an apprenticeship model, students will develop working (not just head) knowledge and practical skills on and off the field, enabling deeper, more sustainable participation in conservation science.
Keeping ourselves open to the unexpected and unknown, we will engage questions and investigate problems together, with an oppor-tunity to create new knowledge and make a contribution to “real science.”
The backyard before you
Most of our values are embodied in this book.
Part research compilation and part reflection on urban ecology and wildlife, The Backyard Before You inspired our Backyard Explorers programme. A narrative compilation of our research findings from the Rimba Project’s Section 12 Project, it offers a glimpse into our philosophy, why we think urban ecology is important, and the role we can play in conserving nature. Featuring some of the things we’ve learnt so far, and giving many hints at what we have yet to discover, it is into this world that Backyard Explorers aims to guide all junior naturalists.