Our Go Wild in the Forest project is now complete, but its legacy will live on thanks to a grant of £16,465 from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
We have bought and installed wildlife watching equipment, including an accessible wildlife hide, bat detectors, and identification guides, as well as installing orienteering and nature trails, den building and camp fire areas, allowing people to have fun in the Forest, learn new things and inspire them to care for the natural world around them.
Developing transferable learning skills
The deputy head from a south Birmingham academy said: “Not only have our children developed transferable learning skills; they have been able to apply key curriculum skills, too. For example, children learn about habitats in the classroom and are able to see nature’s ecosystems first hand in the Forest. They have engaged in observational drawing activities – the forest providing children with a far more interesting stimulus to anything that we could offer in school!
Also, we aim for our children to become ‘global citizens’. By learning about the work of the Heart of England Forest, they are able to see the results of charitable work in order to effect change in their local area and resolve local and national issues. By teaching our children the concept of ‘charity’ and seeing this first hand, they are now more likely to engage in good causes as they grow older.”
At our school, we serve a community of children, 92% of whom are Pupil Premium (money is given to schools each year by the Government to improve the attainment of disadvantaged children). Our Year 5 pupils were taught how to keep safe in the Forest. Not a single child pushed the boundaries because it was made clear to them the importance of keeping themselves and others safe. They participated in scavenger hunts where they learnt about inhabitants of the Forest and how to work as a team: sharing ideas, sharing equipment and following instructions from one another.”
He was clear how the Forest has played a key role in broadening the horizons of pupils: “These experiences have been vital in giving our pupils a transferable skill set and the impact we have seen in school has been phenomenal. For example, children who historically would get involved in altercations on the playground are now able to play fairly with one another and are able to listen to each other and empathise. Not only have our children developed transferable learning skills; they have been able to apply key curriculum skills, too.”
Our children often have not left their local community, so we have been able to broaden their horizons by taking them to the Forest.”
Best moments in the Forest
We asked the children what their best moments in the Forest were:
“My best moment was eating the marshmallows and sitting round the camp fire.”
“My best moment was making the dens with tarpaulins. Next time I come to the forest I would like to do more den building.”
“My best moment was when we saw a deer because I have never in my life seen a deer.”
Our Learning and Skills programme aims to ensure that all members of the communities living and working in and around the Forest enjoy it on a regular basis to improve their quality of life. From toddlers to pensioners and from nature lovers to those who rarely spend time outdoors, our programme provides something for everyone. Find out more.