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…
Outdoor and Woodland Learning
The Outdoor and Woodland Learning (OWL) project encourages education about the area’s natural environment in order to nurture a legacy of understanding and respect. It is the central access point for all school activities associated with the Landscape Partnership projects delivery.
The aims of this project are to:
- Work with schools in, and associated with, the CALLP project area to deliver and facilitate outdoor learning sessions on a regular basis.
- Demonstrate the broad range of themes which can be taught outdoors.
- Work closely with schools and teaching staff to assist with training and development to ensure that the project will have a largely self-sustaining legacy.
Under these three areas, the project to date has achieved the following:
- Over 4000 individual engagements since the start of the project
- Worked with age groups from nursery level through to S6
- Worked with all schools within the project area:
- Achiltibuie Nursery
- Achiltibuie Primary School
- Lochinver Pre-School
- Lochinver Primary School
- Worked with schools surrounding the project area:
- Badcaul Primary School
- Scoraig Primary School
- Scourie Primary School
- Ullapool Primary School
- Ullapool High School
- Weekly outdoor learning sessions with both Achiltibuie and Lochinver schools, covering cross-curricular learning with topics including literacy, numeracy, expressive arts, technology, health & wellbeing, social studies.
- John Muir Award: Delivered as a P7 transition project, titled “the links between our favourite wild places”. Each P7 school group within the feeder area of Ullapool High School “Discovers”, “Explores” and “Conserves” a local wild place, and delivers activities at their place with the other P7 groups through a “Share” day. The programme concludes with a celebratory group walk up to Sail Gharbh summit of Quinag.
- Isle Martin Island Explorer: A four-day residential trip with S1 pupils from Ullapool High School. Activities include kayaking, skiffing, seashore exploration, woodland immersion, and a mini overnight expedition to another part of the island.
- Hill to Grill: Second year pupils from Ullapool High School spend two days on the hill with professional deer stalkers to learn about wild venison, including conservation and ecological aspects of deer management. A final day in the school is spent developing a venison product, including creating a recipe, cooking it, developing packaging and marketing, based on information learnt. This project also explores food miles, sustainability, and animal welfare in the food industry.
- Mindfulness in the Woods: An experiential, hands-on and progression-based approach to learning about Mindfulness with P4-7s of Lochinver Primary School, supported by sights, sounds, smells and sensations of nature to enhance the learning experience.
- Archaeology Scotland Heritage Hero Award: S2s delve into an exploration of the local area’s iron age history, based at Clachtoll Broch. Activities include an iron-age re-enactment; taster sessions of traditional activities such as de-husking wheat, spinning wool and making clay pots; and participation in the post-excavation process with a community archaeologist.
- Literacy Days: Supported by the Scottish Book Trust, these days offer the opportunity for P5-6s to collaborate with local authors and get creative with words in context of our natural environment and heritage.
- Artist in Residence collaboration: In the first year of the CALLP artist in residence project, the schools worked with bronze artist Julia Cowie, to create moulds in wax discs that were used to create bronze casts for a community sculpture at Clachtoll Broch. In the second year we assisted primary and secondary school workshops with musician Alex Mackay to explore and record the sounds around Glencanisp which were then uploaded into music software to create compositions with.
- Path Day: Interactive workshops exploring: the geology of Suilven; tools and techniques used to repair paths; and artistic interpretation, as part of the Suilven path launch with John Muir Trust, Assynt Foundation and North West Highland Geopark.
- Tree planting: A couple of outdoor learning tree-planting opportunities have presented themselves in collaboration with the Woodland Expansion project. Pupils have learnt about natural ecology, biodiversity of a woodland, and assisted with tree planting.
- Hedgerow Jelly Project: Tree planting of fruiting species on school premises, offering a home to native tree, shrub and climbing species that provide a rich selection of nature’s finest fruits and berries. This is a Woodland Trust initiative to provide food for wildlife and human mouths alike for future generations to come.
- Outdoor First Aid: the OWL project has supported S5-6s in gaining their Outdoor First Aid qualification.
Many of these activities result from collaborations with other CALLP project staff and partners, community organisations and local businesses, and we are grateful be able to support each other to be able to offer these experiences to our local young people.
Training & Development
- Seven-day Woodland Activity Leader Training, delivered by Wild Things
- Continuing Professional Development sessions with Scourie Primary School
- Sharing best practice presentation to The Galson Trust (Isle of Lewis)
It was a relief to return to outdoor learning with the schools as they resumed for the 2020/21 academic year back in August. Since then we’ve been busy with Achiltibuie…