Forest Education isn’t just for kids. It’s for everyone! The great outdoors is a wonderful place to feel calm, make friends and learn all kinds of new skills – whatever your age.
Our Forest Education activities include our sessions with families, workparties for adults, and walks for well-being. We hold regular dates for most of these, and also special holiday events. Please look here.
February 2018 (Update)
With the generous funding of Big Lottery and an Awards for All grant since May 2017, we have been able to continue providing Stick Around sessions for adults, and develop the programme. STICK AROUND provides conservation and craftwork with time for personal reflection.
We run open sessions on Thursdays 1 – 3, where everyone is welcome. Sessions for people in rehab and recovery run weekly with one group, and every five weeks in association with Sea Change.
Achievements so far…
- The Thursday group has grown
- The weekly rehab and recovery group is strongly committed. Sessions have been incorporated into the weekly schedule with excellent attendance. We have acquired a volunteer liaison worker to ensure the work we offer is suited to the individuals’ and their needs as they go through the recovery process.
- We have created a 2018 Calendar which went on sale in December 2017 and sold out!
- Much of the craftwork has involved willow and dogwood. Stick Around participants are getting skilled by forming rings and wreathes, heart shapes, fish, and trivets.
- A couple of indoor sessions were planned to combat the wild weather of December/January. We popped indoors at Uffculme Centre and painted landscapes, and nifty random nature patterns using cling film!
- The outdoor work has included exploring the use of green wood tools, repairing to storage structures that got damaged in the storms, and (yet to come) making a shave horse and saw buck for further green wood working.
- We also needed to harvest some green wood, so in January/February 2018 we are periodically coppicing the willow trees at Moon Meadow to create a yield of stakes for conservation work, and wands for crafting.
February 2017 (update)
The Well-Being Walking group meets at the High St entrance, on alternate Wednesdays 11:00. We walk in the park for an hour, do a few stretchy exercises and find ways we are fulfilling the Five Ways to Well-Being. We finish up at Cafe Uffculme (in Uffculme Centre, next door to the orchard), especially if the weather is cold!
Stick Around meets every Thursday 1:00 – 3:00PM at the Orchard. There is more information here.
We are running a new programme for adults called Stick Around. We’re encouraging participants to connect with nature by getting involved in land-based, craft and reflective activities in each session. Stick Around meets every Thursday, 1:00-3:00PM from the Orchard. Bring a snack and stay as short or as long as you like! If you are free on Thursdays for whatever reason, you would be welcome to join in. We’ve been trialling Stick Around for a few months while applying for funding to run it longer term. From August 2015, it will run at least until Spring 2016.
First time out with us? Find directions to the Orchard here.
We don’t often post about Down to Earth families that come for a session on a Wednesday afternoon. That’s because it’s a group with young children, only open to home-educators and those who are seriously thinking about it. Down to Earth is the name they were given by Alf Dimmock, our local Park Ranger who started the group and continues to run sessions for them on Mondays (and now also Deby Morgan on Tuesdays). They are a fabulous group who come from all over the city and represent many different cultures and languages. Yet they all agree that outdoors is the place to be when children are taking the lead in their own learning.
20th May was Water Aid Day. One of the parents suggested we find out something about water by creating a human “pipeline” across the orchard, and raise funds for the cause at the same time. With a few additional ideas, we made a whole session dedicated to water fetching and carrying. It’s a story easily told in the orchard because we have no water piped onto our site, and we must fetch and carry ourselves. One of the parents (Yolanda) made this video which shows what happened. Thank you Yolanda and everyone for giving permission to show this here. Apologies: We’re now waiting to create a version that’s not too big to upload!! 🙁
The Highbury Handbook of Outdoor Learning (PDF, 12M) is now available online! It is the result of collaborations between teachers, outdoor educators and parents, all keen to see local children engaging with nature, enjoying and learning in the park. The work was funded by Big Lottery in 2013-14. Some of the information is specific to Highbury Park, but much of the handbook is valid for other natural outdoor spaces as well.
Our PDF version enables you to access individual pages, which you are welcome to print off in quantity. We will also add further resources from time to time.
You may download it here.
If you would like a paper spiral-bound copy of the whole handbook, please contact Liz on email@example.com. This is free while our stock lasts.
The Forest Education project continues with two programmes for families: weekly sessions for home-educating families, and an after-school club for children aged 5-8 with their siblings and parents. The after school club meets on Wednesdays at Highbury park play area, 3:45 – 5:00 and costs £1 for each child that takes part, whatever their age.
Starting in the new year, we will also run sessions in the school holidays. Look out for a Night Walk, crafting bows and arrows, a Dawn Chorus, foraging, and others as the year proceeds.
We hope you have already noticed our Forest Education project which is underway! Several events have taken place since June 2013 when we received funding from Big Lottery. These enable us to work towards establishing Forest Education at Highbury in two ways.
(1) To run series of Woodland Play sessions throughout the year, where families can enjoy all seasons (and weathers!). There is a small charge for these – £3 per adult each day (children come free) – with some free events on special dates. Look out for Hallowe’en in October and a Night Walk in January, for example. We are looking for volunteers interested in facilitating play in families, who would support the session leaders. Please contact Liz on 0121 628 2680 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be considered.
(2) To produce a handbook for teachers, youth leaders, home educators and other enthusiastic parents that clearly informs about the features of Highbury and how these can be harnessed in outdoor learning.
We hope the handbook will give its readers confidence to use the natural outdoors as a place of learning, and bring their young people out on a regular basis.
We thank the following organisations for their support.