It has been just over 1 month since I returned from my woodland activity leader-training course. Otherwise known as WALT.  The training took place at Wild-Things! An environmental education charity based in Findhorn on the Moray coast.

My colleague, Lucy, came with me for the 7- day course and we had a fantastic week. There were 10 participants on the course. Some were primary or secondary teachers. Others worked in the outdoors facilitating groups of children and young people. Eleanor Foster was our excellent trainer/assessor for the week.

It was an intensive week and there was a lot to learn. Most of the activities and assessments were practical which meant we were able to spend the majority of our week outdoors in the woods!

Here is a taster of some of the things that we got up to:

Tying knots and putting up shelter hammocks K Booth
Katy and Lucy – In the woods practicing our knots K Booth
Foraging and cooking wild food! We had a delicious feast in the forest including chanterelles, bannocks, pine-needle tea, fruit jam K Booth
Fire lighting – I was very proud of my fire! K Booth

Throughout the week we also had sessions on plant and tree identification, animal tracks and signs, using tools and knives safely, mini-beasts and useful discussions on conservation, leave no trace, funding opportunities and our legal roles and responsibilities as Woodland activity leaders.

At the end of the week, each participant had to lead a 30-minute workshop pitched for different age groups and with varying topics. My session was a music lesson for primary age pupils. Other sessions included forest bathing, science, team building, poetry, art, and literacy. It was great fun taking part in each other’s sessions. It was the final assessment of the week so we were all a bit nervous! Everyone did a brilliant job and the atmosphere was so supportive.

Example lesson K Booth

Lucy and I left at the end of the week brimming with ideas and inspiration. We have gone back to our schools in Achiltibuie/Lochinver/Ullapool and have kept the momentum going! Lucy is leading outdoor learning for Nursery and early years at Achiltibuie along with the head teacher. I am taking P1-3 outdoors every week to Culag woods in Lochinver and using my new skills with P1-4 in Ullapool primary. It has been such a wonderful opportunity and we are very glad that outdoor and environmental learning can carry on in our local primary schools.

Both Lucy and I would like to say a huge thank-you to Eleanor at Wild-Things, the CALL Project for this opportunity and The National Lottery Heritage fund for funding our training.

It is an excellent course and I highly recommend it to anyone working in education who has an interest in outdoor and environmental learning.

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