A 'Knowledge Island' for Enriching Humanistic Education

Skomer is a small volcanic island situated in the Pembrokeshire community of Marloes at the extreme South Western tip of South Wales.

The island is edged with 15 Km of mainly steep sea cliffs rising to a plateau at approximately 55 metres. The rock is derived from a series of underwater volcanic eruptions, with inter bedded sedimentary rocks of Silurian age. The highest point is 79 metres. The plateau is intersected by five bare rock outcrops running as east to west ridges, which between them create two wet and one dry valley. There is standing water in four large (up to 1 ha) and three very small ponds, all are artificial.

There are undisturbed cliff areas, some fragments of maritime heath, maritime grassland, some freshwater marsh and large tracts of bracken. A collection of abandoned central fields surrounds a large ruined farmstead which dates from the 19th century. The vegetation is considerably modified by rabbit grazing, by the burrowing activities of both rabbits and seabirds (Manx Shearwater and Puffin) and in some areas by the trampling and manuring of gulls, which breed in large colonies.

The whole of the island is designated as a National Nature Reserve extending to low water mark (area 316 ha). It is owned by Natural Resources Wales, a Welsh Government agency, and administered by the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust.

Away from the central farmstead are the comprehensive remains of a prehistoric community that farmed the land about 3000 years ago.

The island is managed as a protected site where public access is encouraged via a regular boat service during the months of April to September inclusive and a system of footpaths is maintained.

This wiki is a work in progress to produce an on-line interpretation of Skomer for cross-curricular education in cultural ecology and an introduction to the practicalities of facilitating humanistic education for understanding and adaptine to climate change.

The Wider Context


The project developed from an idea of the Duke of Edinburgh, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge that the examination board should develop a school subject dealing with world development,

The new subject was launched internationally with the title 'natural economy' with a curriculum and examination system validated by the university's local examination syndicate.


To focus on the relationships between culture and the environment, 'cultural ecology' was promoted as an on line teaching model with the backing of the Life Environment Programme of the European Union.

Currently 2019

The cultural ecology website is receiving 1-2 million unique hits per year and registrations for the blog are running at a level of about 5-600 per week.

The wiki is maintained, developed and promoted by International Classrooms on Line