Welcome to Learning About Forests (LEAF)

Using nature as a classroom


What is LEAF?

Learning about Forests is a learning programme that advocates outdoor learning and hands-on experiences, resulting in pupils gaining a deeper and more involved understanding of the natural world. The LEAF programme rests on the belief that children need to experience nature both for themselves and for society as a whole. With more than half the world's population living in urban areas, the need to connect with nature is even more important. 

No Forest Needed!

While the focus of the LEAF programme is on tree-based ecosystems, the skills and knowledge can be acquired and applied in any natural environment. Our definition of forest is wide and can include marine forests and urban ecosystems. Anyone can take part in LEAF, no matter where they live. 

The LEAF programme is comprised of six elements, making up the Forest Cycle. Completion of all elements is recognised by a LEAF Certificate of Achievement. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government, as part of our Eco Schools programme. As such, there is no charge to a school or nursery looking to take part in the programme. 

The programme is available for all age ranges, from early years to secondary and ASN schools / departments. LEAF can be counted towards an Eco Schools Green Flag application, but can also be done as a standalone award separate to Eco Schools.

Like Eco-Schools, LEAF is one of five programmes operated internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful in Scotland.  Find out more about LEAF worldwide by visiting the LEAF international website.

We are currently looking for schools to join our pilot LEAF programme, starting in January 2023. For details about the pilot scheme, please see below. 

LEAF resources will be available to all schools to use as standalone teaching materials, or in support of an Eco Schools Green Flag application, whether you are registered with the programme or not.

The LEAF Award

The LEAF award demonstrates a commitment to outdoor and nature based education, as well as knowledge and understanding of the crucial roles of forest based ecosystems. 

In order to achieve a LEAF award, you will need to complete all six parts of the Forest Cycle

The Forest Cycle

Completion of all elements of the Forest Cycle qualifies you for a LEAF Certificate of Achievement. Evidence of Forest Cycle completion is submitted online, using any format that works best for you. We have a checklist and template to help you. 

The Forest Cycle is similar to the Eco Schools seven elements, but this is a smaller award, requiring fewer actions. As such it can be counted towards an Eco Schools Green Flag application, or as a standalone project for schools who want to work towards something a bit smaller.  

Pilot programme launching

We are excited to announce that Keep Scotland Beautiful is piloting the LEAF programme in Scotland.

We are looking for around 20 schools from a variety of settings (early years to secondary and urban to rural) to take part in our pilot LEAF programme, starting in January 2023 with training in November 2022. 

An information session about out pilot LEAF programme took place on Monday 3rd October 2022. If you are interested in the pilot programme, please email leaf@keepscotlandbeautiful.org. and we will send you a link to a recording of the information session and a link to register for the pilot programme. Please note that we will close registrations for our pilot programme at 5pm on Friday 21st October 2022.

What we do with personal data

We will use your contact details to send you the information you have opted to receive from us, and to contact you about our LEAF pilot programme. We will not retain your contact details beyond this use.

It is not our practice to sell, rent or otherwise to disclose your personal information to others.

For further information on our LEAF programme please contact leaf@keepscotlandbeautiful.org


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