Background information to support with planning conservation teaching and learning experiences.

In this section

Context for teachers

Conservation education provides authentic opportunities for learning and gives schools an opportunity to connect with their local community in a meaningful way.

Our education resources support a balanced approach to conservation education, and enable teachers and students to truly connect with their natural environments.

They integrate the three dimensions of environmental education: 

Graphic of resource dimensions: about/in/for the environment.

Education ABOUT the environment - developing knowledge and skills

Curriculum based learning and inquiry, usually in the classroom.

Education IN the environment - connecting to nature and place

Education outside / place-based learning.

Education FOR the environment - taking action to restore, grow and protect

Applying skills, knowledge and values to take environmental action and complete local restoration.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture is part of our education strategy. It encapsulates essential Big Ideas and Values about how we are part of the natural world around us and how we can make a difference

Download The Big Picture factsheet (PDF, 826K)

We also sponsor the Big Picture Award, which is part of the Outlook for Someday film challenge.

The Big Picture Values

These are drawn from the Māori perspective of the natural world. Use these as a starting point to explore your own values about the natural world.

  • Aroha
  • Manaaki
  • Wairua
  • Tapu
  • Mauri
  • Mana

Watch videos about The Big Picture Ideas and Values.

You are here

The Big Picture arrow and earth.

Have you ever written your address as... Earth, the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Universe?

There are between 30 and 50 trillion stars out there in somewhere between 80 to 140 billion galaxies but Earth is the only place we call home. It’s all we have (that is, until we catch up with Star Trek).

For life to survive and thrive here we need to get that we are all part of one natural world.

Without our fresh air, water, seas, fertile soils, forests, animals and plants we humans couldn't survive. Every thing, even the tiniest of bugs, has a role to play, including us.

Everything is connected - from deepest ocean to outer space - and what we do does make a difference.

Dimensions of environmental education

Our resources integrate the three dimensions of environmental education: about, in and for.

Education ABOUT the environment

This learning happens mostly in the classroom. It provides foundational knowledge and understanding for students around a specific issue or theme.

This dimension focuses and the following Big Picture ideas and key learning outcomes:

Aotearoa is a special place 

Aotearoa/New Zealand icon.

Kāore he wāhi i kō atu i a Aotearoa me ōna koiora, me ona waahi ahurei
There is no place in the world like Aotearoa with its special biodiversity and unique ecosystems

  • Learn about our unique environment and ecosystems/habitats across the curriculum.
    • What makes them unique and special to Aotearoa?
    • Learn about our conservation past.
  • Envisage our future. What is the possible future for Aotearoa and planet Earth?

Everything is connected

Global/everything is connected icon.

Ko au ko te taiao, ko te taiao ko au
I am the environment, the environment is me

  • Examine the interconnections between land and sea, people and place, ecosystems/ habitats.
  • Investigate how people can work together to protect and grow our biodiversity.

View the 'Education ABOUT the environment' resources.

Education IN the environment

Learning experiences outside the classroom provide opportunities to develop skills in observation, data collection, practical inqury and investigation.

This dimension focuses and the following Big Picture ideas and key learning outcomes:

Global/everything is connected icon.

People are part of the natural world

He nohonga ngātahitanga ahau me te taiāo
We live as one with our natural world

  • Investigate the current situation:
    • Explore and collect data that measures the biodiversity in your local natural places.
    • Make observations and find out more about the plant and animal life in your local natural places.
    • Connect with people who also interact with your local natural places and spaces.
      • What do they do?
      • Why do they do it?
      • How can they be a part of protecting and growing conservation/biodiversity/ecosystems and natural habitats in your local natural places?
  • Future oriented – enables students to question:
    • How will we use this knowledge/skills/values?
    • What is the future that we want? Who can help us?

View the 'Education IN the environment' resources.

Education FOR the environment

Education for the environment involves developing a sense of responsibility for our natural environments. It supports students to apply their knowledge and experience to solving real-life problems in their own communities.

This dimension focuses and the following Big Picture ideas and key learning outcomes:

Global/diversity icon.

The planet's diversity is critical to our survival

Toitū te marae a Tāne, Toitū te marae a Tangaroa, Toitū te Tangata
If we care for the resources of the land and the sea, we, the people, will survive

  • Apply your new knowledge, skills, values and understandings to help solve a local environmental problem.
  • Recognise that it is our responsibility to protect our environment/biodiversity/ecosystems and habitats.
  • Develop new partnerships – working and learning together with others.
    • Work together with local industry experts to plan, implement and evaluate a real life project.

View the 'Education FOR the environment' resources.

Big Picture Award: The Outlook for Someday film challenge

Show us you get the Big Picture by entering the Outlook for Someday film challenge.

DOC sponsors the Big Picture Award which is given to a winning film focusing on one or more of DOC's Big Picture Ideas and Values.

How to get involved

Find out how to enter the Outlook for Someday film challenge.

For a bit of inspiration, watch past winning films or take a look at our videos about The Big Picture – Ruud ‘Bugman’ Kleinpaste and renowned story teller Joe Harawira explain how we depend upon nature in our day to day lives.

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