Rivercraft: Minecraft game inspires young environmental champions

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Children and young people around the world can learn about climate change, the environment and reducing the impacts of flooding with a new Minecraft: Education Edition game, “Rivercraft”.

Based on the £54.7m flood risk management program in Preston and South Ribble, the in-game world of Preston is the first activity of its kind that uses artificial intelligence to map a region and convert it into an interactive Minecraft map. The games will be available globally and in multiple languages ​​for use in educational and home environments around the world in Minecraft: Education Edition. This established educational tool is used by millions of educators and students in 112 countries, with hundreds of free courses and programs, teacher trainings and learning programs.

The Environment Agency and Microsoft will work alongside 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 – Dealing with floods. This game will focus on building the Preston and South Ribble flood defenses. The player will be tasked with constructing various types of flood prevention measures including natural flood management, walls and embankments as well as flood storage areas and anti-flood gates. Players will learn the pros and cons of each approach and their relevance within local communities
  • Game 2 – Flood prevention. This game will explore how individual actions can mitigate climate change and how understanding flood risk can reduce damage to people and property.
  • Game 3 – Our local environment. This game will start on the riverbank where the player will be tasked with conducting an ecological survey using his digital workbook and camera. The purpose of this game will be for investigators to spot and record some of our most beloved wildlife, including voles and otters.

With the aim of encouraging young people to embark on environmentally-based careers, the characters in the game have also been adapted to reflect the diversity of the local project team and the communities that the Environment Agency serves.

Andy Brown, head of flood risk for the Environment Agency, said:

This is an incredible opportunity for students and a project we are proud to be part of. Not only will young people learn about a major flood program in the UK, but they will also learn about climate change, the environment, floods and the types of roles available for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Introducing the next generation to the brilliant career opportunities we have here at the Environment Agency is essential 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 for 4,700 homes and businesses.

We want to help everyone discover their drive, passion and enthusiasm for the environment and the jobs available in this sector. We can’t wait to see Rivercraft and the world of Preston come to life across the globe.

Justin Edwards, Director of Learning Programs, Minecraft, said:

We know people all over the world love Minecraft, so it’s really rewarding for us to see Minecraft encouraging students to speak up and get involved in environmental issues.

The game provides an opportunity to not only learn about the Preston and South Ribble flood program, but also to understand the real world impact in a safe and fun way. The game also shows how communities are impacted, not just individuals. We are committed to creating a better world through the power of play and this project is at the forefront of that vision.

You can read more about Rivercraft.

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 program in Preston and South Ribble.
  • This scheme began construction in October 2021 and will directly reduce the risk of flooding for 4,700 homes and businesses from Preston Riversway to the M6 ​​and Higher Walton.
  • The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is contributing £6.525 million to the program and funding has been secured from a number of sources including the Department for Education.
  • The construction of the facility will be completed in the summer of 2023 and in accordance with ERDF deadlines.
  • Work is also continuing on the fender design for later stages of the project at Walton-le-Dale, Frenchwood and Higher Walton.
  • The program will improve access to the River Ribble, including emergency access on Strand Road through the rehabilitation of the old slipway to the river.
  • The program will also create additional environmental improvements, including the creation of habitats in the Ribble Sidings area (in 2023). Pavement work to stabilize the river banks will also create additional riverbank habitat and wider trails in some of the narrower areas around the Miller Park entrance and along Riverside Road.
  • Four new sports fields will also be created as a permanent legacy of the program
  • Full program information can be viewed at www.thefloodhub.co.uk
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