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Adventures in Nature
Connecting with Nature #8: The Wild Soup Hunt
9th November 2016

2016-10-27-13-35-08It is a little known fact that November marks the opening of the Wild Soup hunting season.  These shy non-native creatures can be found hiding in our woodlands and tracking them down can be a fun sport during our autumn forest school sessions or family walks.  At this time of year their distinctive winter plumage stands out amongst the muted colours of the forest, so the canny creatures will seek shelter in nooks and crannies of rocks and thick brambles to attempt to stay away from hunters’ eyes. (more…)

Connecting with Nature #7: Autumn Colour
26th October 2016

If you are thinking that the autumn colours seem particularly vivid this year, you’d be right.  The combination of a wet spring and some sunny late summer days have given the trees a good growing season and built up the conditions for spectacular display of autumn colour, which keeps taking my breath away.

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The range of reds, oranges and yellows have inspired some fantastic artwork in our half term forest schools, like this mandala that Fiona and Charlie helped the children make on our Keighley programme.  The collecting and arranging of different leaves is a celebration of pattern and colour. (more…)

Connecting with Nature #6: Swallows and Amazons Forever!
26th August 2016

20160716_170437As children we would dream of having adventures like the Swallows and Amazons:  when their summer holidays came round the Walker children would spend it camping on an island in the middle of a lake. With no adults on hand and just the cavalier parental advice that ‘if not duffers, won’t drown’, they spend their holidays having adventures in boats and sleeping under the stars. (more…)

Connecting with Nature #5; Respect Your Elders
21st June 2016

You’ve got to respect the Elder tree; vitamin-rich berries, gnarly climbable branches and brittle sticks of kindling that will get the fire going – it’s the tree that keeps on giving throughout the year, but its at its finest right now in June with its white froth of perfumed blossom filling up the hedgerows.  020It was once believed to be the most magical of plants with the power to ward off evil, so its often to be found at gates and entrance ways.  Growing in hedgerows and wastelands we’re never far from an elder tree, which is handy as there are plenty of ideas for forest schools and anyone looking to get creative outdoors. (more…)

Connecting with nature #4: Flexible spring!
30th April 2016

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We’ve been bending over backwards to try out new ideas with flexible materials this April.  Spring hasn’t quite sprung for us here yet (still snowing at the end of April!) but a plentiful supply of willow rods and bramble stems has provided a flexible resource that keeps on giving.

2016-03-30 11.51.01At end of March my Dad presented me with 2 buckets full of fresh willow he had chopped back from his hedge.  Taking this to our Easter holiday forest schools the children soon got to work experimenting and making.  The flexibility of willow meant some got snapped up for making bows and arrows, although we don’t think its as good as hazel for strength under fire. The bendiness lends itself well to some creative ideas though, and forest school practitioner Ruth McBain showed us an owl she’d made by tying up curved shapes with wool.  A few forest school-ers soon wanted to make one too. (more…)



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