Children and young people around the world can learn more about climate change, the environment and reducing the impacts of floods thanks to a new Minecraft: Education Edition game, ‘Rivercraft’.
Based on the £54.7m flood risk management scheme in Preston and the South Ribble, Preston World in Play is the first activity of its kind to use artificial intelligence to map a region and turn it into an interactive map of Minecraft. The games will be available globally and in multiple languages for use in educational and home environments around the world within Minecraft: Education Edition. This established educational tool is used by millions of educators and students in 112 countries, with hundreds of free lessons and curriculums, teacher trainings, and apprenticeship programs.
The Environment Agency and Microsoft will work together with youth engagement experts, BlockBuilders, to engage users in three themed games. Preston’s World will encourage young people to learn about flood risk management, climate change, local human geography, engineering and the environment.
- Game 1: flood management. This game will focus on building the Preston and South Ribble flood defences. The player will be tasked with building various types of flood prevention measures, including natural flood management, walls and embankments, as well as flood storage areas and sluice gates. Players will learn about the pros and cons of each approach and their suitability within local communities.
- Game 2 – Flood Prevention. This game will explore how individual actions can alleviate climate change and how understanding flood risk can reduce damage to people and property.
- Game 3 – Our local environment. This game will start at the river bank where the player will be tasked with conducting an ecological survey using his digital workbook and camera. The goal of this game will be for surveyors to spot and record some of our most beloved wildlife species, including voles and otters.
With the aim of encouraging young people to pursue environmentally based careers, the characters in the game have also been adapted to reflect the diversity of the local project team and the communities the Environment Agency serves.
Andy Brown, Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said:
This is an amazing opportunity for students and a project we are proud to be a part of. Young people will not only learn about a major UK flood plan, they will also find out more about climate change, the environment, flooding and the types of roles available for careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Introducing the next generation to the brilliant career opportunities we have here at the Environment Agency is key if we are to deliver our vital flood and coastal defense projects. This includes the Preston and South Ribble Scheme, which will directly reduce flood risk to 4,700 homes and businesses.
We want to help everyone discover their drive, passion and enthusiasm for the environment and the jobs available within that sector. We can’t wait to see Rivercraft and the world of Preston come to life around the world.
Justin Edwards, Director of Minecraft Learning Programs, said:
We know that people all over the world love Minecraft, so it’s really gratifying for us to see that Minecraft encourages students to talk about and engage with environmental issues.
The game provides an opportunity not only to learn about the flooding scheme in Preston and the South Ribble, but also to understand the real world impact in a safe and fun way. The game also shows how communities are affected, not just individuals. We are committed to making a better world through the power of play and this project is at the forefront of that vision.
Notes to editors
- Rivercraft is an EA developed world in Minecraft Education Edition and is based on the Environment Agency’s £54.7 million flood risk management scheme in Preston and South Ribble.
- This scheme began construction in October 2021 and will directly reduce flood risk to 4,700 homes and businesses from the Preston Riversway to the M6 and Higher Walton.
- The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is contributing £6.525 million to the scheme and funding has been secured from multiple sources, including the Department for Education.
- The construction of the scheme will be completed in the summer of 2023 and in accordance with the ERDF deadlines.
- Work is also continuing on the design of defenses for the later stages of the scheme at Walton-le-Dale, Frenchwood and Higher Walton.
- The plan will provide improved access to the Ribble River, including emergency access on Strand Road through remediation of the old slipway to the river.
- The scheme will also create additional environmental improvements, including the creation of habitats in the Ribble Sidings area (during 2023). Resurfacing work to stabilize riverbanks will also create additional riparian habitat and wider trails in some of the narrower areas around the entrance to Miller Park and along Riverside Road.
- Four new sports fields will also be created as a permanent legacy of the scheme.
- All the information of the scheme can be seen in www.thefloodhub.co.uk