Lochinvar Public School students are connecting with nature and learning to love our natural environment through a special education program devised by a Windermere woman.
Gillian Hewitt has developed Imaginaturalists- an educational program using creativity and artistic expression to communicate scientific concepts in schools.
"I want to encourage children to engage with the world around them, giving them a love of nature and a desire to explore and protect our world," Gillian said.
"Creativity engages children with science by learning in a fun hands on approach. Gaining an understanding of many concepts in science and an improved self confidence in all aspects of their education."
Gillian has two degrees - Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Bachelor of Natural History Illustration with Distinction. After graduating she wanted to find a way to combine her two loves, art and science.
After working in marine science, she discovered there was a need to express concepts or features visually through scientific illustration. "This was not a common skill and I was often asked to help draw an idea/concept/process," she said.
"I came up with Imaginaturalists as a blend of imagination and becoming a naturalist, and spreading a love of nature and our environment," she said. "I wanted to inspire kids to reconnect with their environment and develop an understanding of the interconnectedness in our world and our actions."
Imaginaturalists introduces scientific concepts and ideals through creative means, which children love to engage with. It is aimed at primary school-aged children and professional development for teachers but can be adapted to the needs of any student willing to learn.
"I have been blown away by the amazing positive response Imaginaturalists has had in schools so far and I can't wait to see where I can take it," Gillian said.