The level of environmental agency experienced by the young participants increased as a result of their involvement in the planning, design and implementation of their own Citizen Inquiry research projects.
Evidence has also shown that the level of investment and involvement by young people in informal, rather than formal, education settings appears to be higher. This may be due to the aspect of voluntary and therefore self-directed participation that young people in informal education settings – such as youth projects and youth councils – demonstrate in these settings.
A range of resources produced by the young participants were warmly welcomed by the teachers and other educators who took part in the project – with environmental concerns and climate change being identified as area they had limited teaching and learning resources in. Some of these resources are also being distributed by the Royal Geographical Society as part of their resource bank for secondary and tertiary education teachers.
Digital technology played an important role in engaging the young participants with the project. Using a variety of digital tools to initiate their inquiries, the participants created e-books, an animated film, an educational app, educational games and resources plus online surveys.
The project trialled the use of Citizen Inquiry as a methodology to engage young people in solution-focused approaches to environmental issues and concerns. This approach proved extremely successful, particularly in engaging those young people who are often deemed ‘hard to reach’ and may not have usually engaged in environmental/scientific based projects.
Funding applications have been submitted to various bodies in order to continue and extend this research approach.
As part of the project some of the young participants designed an app to educate and engage primary school children in the issues related to the circular plastics economy. Funding has now been sourced to bring the prototype to full production as a fully functioning app which will be available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.