The Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough was awarded a grant of £20,170 in September 2011. The award will provide Forest School experiences for children from schools in the Borough of Bedford. Forest Schools encourage and inspire individuals through positive outdoor experiences. The funding will contribute to the cost of providing specialist education staff for two years.

96 children from lower schools will each visit the Wildlife Trust’s Randalls Farm environmental education centre on six occasions. By learning about wildlife and experiencing the great outdoors, children will learn new skills and gain confidence. Activities will include being a nature detective, pond-dipping and orienteering exercises and will provide the opportuntiy for children to develop skills in challenging situations and nurture important social skills.

One Headteacher commented on the difference that participation in Forest Schools had made to the children:

“Over the six week period we have seen improvement in every child that has attended Forest Schools. The activities allow the children to work and learn together and many have discovered talents and aptitudes that haven’t always been apparent in school”.It is hoped that the increased self-esteem and confidence gained by the children will enable them to engage more fully with their learning back at school.

Sarah Smith, Head of Education and Community from the Wildlife Trust said “We believe that everyone should be able to access and enjoy their local wildlife and green spaces, with the benefits to health and well-being that these experiences bring.  The Bedford Charity’s support of Forest Schools is giving more children from Bedford Borough schools the opportunity to benefit from these unique outdoor experiences.”

As part of of the project, The Wildlife Trust will also provide training to enable teaching staff from local schools to offer Forest School activities in their own playgrounds.

My day at Randall’s Farm by Jeanette Ariano, aged 35 and a half!

Jeanette Ariano, Communications Manager for the Wildlife Trust, spent a day at Randall’s Farm to get a flavour of the Forest School experience, and you can see how she got on by following the Wildlife blog.