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20.05.2020

PRESS RELEASE: Go on an educational SEFARI!

A young black girl in a pink cardigan smiling at the camera, holding a beaker full of colourful liquid and wearing lab goggles.

Scottish research institutes are sharing educational activities and resources for teachers, parents and learners to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Link:  https://sefari.scot/document/online-education-resources-table

School children can learn how to manage a forest, become diet detectives or try being a farmer.

Aimed at those who are home schooling, the free online educational activities and resources have been collated by the six organisations which make up SEFARI (the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes). The resources cover a wide range of topics including the environment, food and agriculture and are suitable from primary school age up to seniors in secondary school. Many activities are available now and more will be coming shortly in collaboration with users to ensure ease of access.

Dr Michelle Wilson-Chalmers, Research and Communications Officer at SEFARI Gateway, said:

“The unprecedented health crisis posed by Covid-19 means home schooling has become essential and SEFARI is working hard to ensure our educational activities are made readily accessible online to help. We are incredibly fortunate to have access to hundreds of experts across a variety of topics who are passionate about education and enjoy creating fun resources that aid learning.”

Covering a wide range of curriculum organisers and outcomes, the resources also touch upon topical issues such as infectious diseases and how pathogens are transmitted. Moredun Research Institute has developed a series of short animated films to highlight aspects of disease prevention and control, and a set of activity packs covering biodiversity and interdependence.

Professor Lee Innes, Director of Communications at the Moredun Research Institute says:

"With the current Covid-19 pandemic there has been a lot of interest in finding out more about infectious diseases, transmission of viruses, diagnostic testing and development of vaccines. The education activities and materials in this brilliant SEFARI resource will help to introduce some of these areas in a very accessible way to help with understanding and engagement with the topic".

Also among the activities is a forest health game, Caledon, which enables players to discover the challenges of managing a forest and dealing with issues such as invasive diseases, grazing animals and illegal loggers. This was developed by colleagues from seven research institutes, including three SEFARI organisations – the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the James Hutton Institute.

For those interested in what we eat and how mathematical modelling can aid better choices when shopping, the Number Muncher Diets activity – created by colleagues at Biomathematics Statistics Scotland (BioSS) and the Rowett Institute – helps users experiment with different (mathematically calculated) diets by varying nutritional, economic and environmental constraints.

You can view the complete table of resources here:  https://sefari.scot/document/online-education-resources-table

For more information, visit: Twitter: @SEFARIscot or email: info@sefari.scot

ENDS

For more information, Email: rosie.free@sruc.ac.uk, Tel: 0131 535 4219

About SEFARI:
SEFARI, the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes, is a consortium of six globally renowned research institutes. As SEFARI, these institutes deliver the Scottish Government funded Strategic Research Programme (SRP), which addresses key mid to longer-term challenges for Scotland’s environment, agriculture, land use, food and rural communities. SEFARI are partners in the wider Scottish Government funded Strategic Research Portfolio. This Portfolio investment is worth £250 million over 2016-2021 and is one of the largest for agri-environment research in the UK and represents a globally distinct investment in and capability for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. SEFARI and the Strategic Research Programme is one of several partners delivering to and areas of investment in this Portfolio.

The newest partner is the SEFARI Gateway - the knowledge exchange and impact hub for SEFARI. It works to improve the flow of research, knowledge and expertise to and from policy, industry and the public - to provide multiple benefits and impacts.