On a sunny Monday morning, I took a short train ride out to North Berwick to visit the Scottish Seabird Centre and talk to Emily Dodd about using storytelling in environmental education. When I arrived, a school group was just packing up their lunches after a fun-filled few hours at the Centre hearing stories, seeing seabirds live on special webcams, and learning about the environmental issues that are affecting puffins and gannets.
Emily Dodd is the education officer at the Seabird Centre. Thanks to her efforts to put together an enjoyable and informative program for children, the Seabird Centre has been having to turn away schools. There is more demand than the Centre can meet during this, their busy spring nesting season. This increase in demand has allowed them to expand begin booking school groups for the Autumn season, when seals come to give birth in the Firth of Forth.
Emily has also been able to reach a wider audience through using GLOW, a digital network that links up schools across Scotland. In March she told her Percy the Puffin story to over 1000 children at 60 schools from the Shetland islands to the Borders, via GLOW.
In my interview with her, Emily Dodd speaks about the uses of storytelling live, and via the internet, to teach children science and to awaken in them a desire to protect and care for the birds we share this country with.
Storytelling is used at the Seabird Centre during school visits, mainly with early years children, and with the public in monthly “Storytime by the Sea” sessions at 2:30 in the Discovery Centre on the first Friday of each month.
Emily Dodd can be reached via the Scottish Seabird Centre’s education pages.