This September we’re welcoming a number of learners from a local school in Salford to Trafford Ecology Park for the very first time.
The young people involved are working to increase their confidence and reduce their anxiety through a number of different programmes, including visits to the park, practical conservation and forest school experiences.
As the Forest School Leader, I visited the school in advance of their arrival with a number of items which I thought might start some conversations with them about the outdoors. This included a hammock, a log from a Birch tree, a 30 year old aerial photo of Trafford Ecology Park and some other forest treasures which caught my eye.
After these school visits the young people arrived at the Ecology Park in small groups and we started to have useful and interesting conversations about their take on what we’d be working on together over the next few months.
The conversation concluded that:
- Some people would like to camp out and build shelters
- Everyone seemed to like the idea of hammocks but most were shy about trying them this time around
- One boy wanted to use a bowdrill to make fire
- Some people would like to make some mini rafts and float them across the lake
- One girl was in interested in snails, another in spiders and one girl wanted to build something for the animals living in the park too
- Some people would like to try weaving Willow and Dogwood and creating some art works using natural materials
- Most people were interested in pond dipping and logging what creatures we have there
- The Bullrushes need thinning out this winter, which some people are keen to help with
- We need to find ways of dealing with the Mosquitoes we have in that area and we might experiment with some Lavender growing nearby!
- Most people would like to try cooking on a campfire and the food requested included Sausages in Buns and Marshmallows but I’m keen to sneak in some veggies too…Jacket potato and roast sweetcorn anyone?
All of this was really pleasing to hear and bodes well for the coming weeks.
Even though not everyone felt able to join in, it’s a really positive start.