UNESCO Biospheres are places for lifelong learning: children discover wildlife and nature through adventure and play; students broaden their education by taking learning outdoors; scientists find unique locations for data gathering and research; and local people participate in environmental and heritage projects.

The Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Partnership is committed to making learning inclusive and accessible, and most of our programme is available at zero cost. Current opportunities are listed below; if there is a course of interest to your school, college, business staff, or community group, send us an email or fill out a contact form to find out more.

Biosphere Footsteps

This workshop series brings local people together to talk about our shared journey towards sustainability. As with all our initiatives, exchanging knowledge and ideas is the name of the game! Four free workshops are available, each approximately 1.5hrs long, and groups can book as few or as many as they wish. Biosphere Footsteps is informal, interactive, and focused on learning together. It’s also great way to build connections within and between our rural communities.

  • Climate Change & Us – talking about the climate impacts that affect us locally, and how we can reduce waste, cut carbon, and make everyday life more sustainable.
  • Seasonal Wildlife – a workshop that changes with the year: learn more about spring bird migrations, damsels and dragonflies in summer, wildfowl migration in autumn, and winter ecology – red squirrels, pine marten and more.
  • High Focus Biosphere – looking at our most important habitats (including ancient woodlands, peatlands, rivers, lochs, and the marine environment) and the priority species that are focal points for conservation work.
  • Inspiring Communities – exploring current projects underway across the Biosphere relating to food, energy, biodiversity and learning.

Suitable for: Community organisations; local interest groups.

How to book: Please email or use the Contact Us form.


Learning For Sustainability

Learning for Sustainability (also known as Education for Sustainability) is used to support learners in developing environmental awareness, an understanding of global connectedness, and futures thinking. Embedding high quality Learning for Sustainability is a crucial contributing factor in meeting Scotland’s commitment to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes, which link directly to the SDGs.

Our team has worked with local schools to create teaching resources that educators can use, in which the UNESCO Biosphere is one big classroom for learners.  Our Learning for Sustainability Toolkit supports outdoor learning and play and environmental education, and can be integrated across all curriculum topics. The toolkit is free to download, and available to schools in hard copy, free upon request. An introductory LfS session (delivered to pupils) may be available – please use the links below to send a query to our Community & Education team.

Suitable for: Primary schools.

How to book: Please email or use the Contact Us form.

The Biosphere’s Most Wanted

Our Biosphere-wide nature recording project launched on World Wildlife Day 2023 and puts citizen science in the palm of your hand. Most Wanted is tracking some of the most fascinating species that live in southwest Scotland: the grayling butterfly, nursehound (a catshark), adder, red squirrel, wych elm, and swift. All these face challenges in our region through changes in climate and land management. By recording sightings using the iNaturalist app we can all contribute data to local conservation work.

Each session comprises an indoor workshop to find out more about our Most Wanted species and take a look at iNaturalist, before we head outside for a wildlife wander to put into practice what we have learned. Large areas of green space are not required; attendees are encouraged to look closer at the nature on our doorsteps, and record anything and everything they see! Every record submitted to iNaturalist helps build a clearer picture of the current state of our local ecosystems.

Suitable for: schools; community groups; public events.

How to book: Upcoming events are advertised on GSAB’s Eventbrite page. To discuss hosting a session of The Biosphere’s Most Wanted, please email or use the Contact Us form.

Carbon Literacy

Our own Carbon Literacy training, certified by the Carbon Literacy Project, takes a deep dive into the climate crisis and how it is linked directly to our daily lives as individuals and communities. This course is designed to inform in a non-sensational way, and to create opportunities to take action. Through the course we explore together a range of topics from waste to biodiversity, moving between the global perspective and our lives and localities. Carbon Literacy training can be tailored to suit your group, including secondary level education settings, and is typically between 6-8 hours of contact time which can be split over several sessions if necessary. The course is also available to groups and organisations outside the GSA UNESCO Biosphere at a per-head cost.

Suitable for: Organisations; secondary schools; community and local interest groups; businesses.

How to book: Please email or use the Contact Us form.

Biosphere Guide Training

This unique course is designed to equip and empower local people who want to utilise their passion for the UNESCO Biosphere to develop new visitor experiences based on touring or guiding. Each four-day course (typically taking place over two weekends) is led by an established guide trainer. Content covers storytelling, health and safety, delivery outdoors, and the principles of our Visitor Charter, with the opportunity to create a mini-experience and test it on fellow attendees! Many of those who have completed the Biosphere Guide Training Course are now experience providers with truly amazing offers from genealogy to gravel cycling. Find out more about them here.

We are pleased to offer this course free to participants, to maximise accessibility.

Suitable for: individuals.

How to book: Biosphere Guide Training runs as a scheduled course, annually or biannually depending on capacity and demand.

Biosphere Badge for Scouts & Guides

Launched in 2023, the Biosphere Badge for Scouts and Girl Guides is aimed at increasing young people’s understanding of local heritage and the special environments for which this UNESCO region is recognised worldwide. Activities have been carefully designed to provide something for all ages, from Squirrels and Rainbows to Rangers and Explorers.  There are options for indoors as well as outside, and several with intriguing titles like ‘Become David Attenborough’ and ‘Ninja Communities’.  Badges are available free to group leaders on request, as are hard copies of the accompanying Activity Booklet. The booklet can also be downloaded from our Resources section, here.

Suitable for: Scouts and Girl Guides

How to book: Contact our Community & Education team – please email or use the Contact Us form.