As we launch our new monthly “Mini Foresters Club”, Head of Learning and Skills Elaine Skates explains why the Heart of England Forest is aiming to encourage more families to access the Forest more often.
As we work to achieve our vision of creating tomorrow’s great native woodland, a key part of our strategy is to ensure the next generation is equipped to enjoy and care for it.
Today, not even a quarter of children regularly use their local patch of nature and fewer than one in ten play regularly in wild places. Children are spending more time in front of screens and less time playing outdoors than their parents did, and this is leading to an increasing disconnect between children and the natural world.
As Richard Louv observed in his book Last Child in the Woods, “For a new generation, nature is more abstraction than reality. Increasingly, nature is something to watch, to consume, to wear – to ignore.”
With childhood obesity rising and the number of children with a diagnosed mental health conditions on the increase, we need to find ways to engage children with the natural world now to improve their fitness and mental health in later life.
This need is recognised in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, launched in January this year. It highlights the fact that connecting more people with the environment will promote greater wellbeing. A major part of this is by encouraging children to be closer to nature, in and out of school.
Mini Foresters Club
The Heart of England Forest is responding to this problem in a number of ways, including with the launch of its new Mini Foresters Club on Saturday 3rd November 2018.
Aimed at families with children aged 4-11, every Mini Foresters session will include something fun, something to help the forest environment, something to learn and something relaxing.
Mini Foresters will take place from 2pm to 4pm on the first Saturday of every month, and will cost just £5 per family. You can join us every month, or whenever an event interests you.
By attending the Mini Foresters Club regularly, your family will:
- Have fun and adventures together in a beautiful environment
- Gain time and space to talk, listen and laugh away from the pressures and distractions of modern life
- Make new friends
- Gain confidence and learn new outdoor skills including fire lighting, woodland crafts and orienteering
- See some wonderful wildlife and improve your knowledge of the natural world with every visit
- Learn to value and care for the Forest and the wider environment.
At our first session on Saturday 3rd November, families can join us for a game of Wildcraft – a scavenger hunt with a difference. The Wildcraft Mini Game takes the things that kids love about their favourite video game and transforms them into a fast-paced outdoor experience that gets children off the screen and out into nature.