Woodlands for all
All About Woods is a project to encourage young people to get out into woods and learn about them. The idea is to put on a whole series of exciting activities in woods from practical woodland management, den building, role play of insects and butterflies, and other ways of learning about what lives in the woods and the richness of the ecosystem. The project is supported by the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty AONB) and run by Lightfoot.
Our previous work has shown how much young people like doing practical tasks and exploring activities that enable them to find out what is growing in woodlands. This year we are introducing role playing activities which will be used to help the young people to imagine what it is like to be animals and insects whose homes are in woodlands. We will also have den building, and a fungi foray.
We have found that people are not always aware that renewable and sustainable heat energy can be obtained from wood fuel at the same time as benefitting the landscape. There are many small woodlands that people in the area may experience in their lives and may be able to work on (family owned, belonging to friends or employers or publicly owned). Our aim is to help them to understand how important woodlands are for wellbeing, enjoyment and for providing sustainable sources of fuel for heat.
All of Year 7s (and some year 8s) were busy doing woodland activities on a sunny day in June on the school field at Bishops Castle Community College (about 80 young people). One of the activities was to learn how to safely fell and tidy up a tree, producing logs, using only bow saws and loppers. They worked in small teams and were instructed by Gary Cowell of Knighton Tree Allotments Trust, and wearing stout gloves they got to work.
Another activity was ‘Wildlife Roleplay’ with Jenny Ogden where young people enacted interviews taking the identity of pollinating insects with large and very beautiful models.
The third activity was ‘An Eye for Detail’ with Toni Pettit who sent the young people hither and thither searching for specific trees and plants she had given clues for in mysterious little paper bags.
In the autumn term the young people who have chosen this topic for their Enrichment Sessions on Friday afternoons will have a variety of subjects each fortnight, including elements of thiose have ‘tasted’ in June. The woodland management (cutting up trees) will be done at a local woodland near Clun, and all other activities will be in the local area. As it was a ‘taster’ session for the autumn term Enrichment Activities, we are hoping to get lots of takers as we have quite a few more additional and exciting topics lined up such as Alan Reid from The Forestry Commission will show them their work at Bury Ditches, and there will be a Fungi Foray led by John Hughes from Shropshire Wildlife Trust at Colstey Wood.
See the planned schedule of activities All About woods – programme schedule v1.0