A Forest School is a child-centred learning process, providing learner inspired, hands-on experiences based out in the natural environment.
Our Engagement Officer has worked with Asquith Primary school, Mansfield and Samuel Barlow Academy and Clipstone, establishing good links with staff and informally mentoring one teacher through her Forest School portfolio work. As a result of the links made, a free training day with Dragon’s Breath theatre company was offered to the Samuel Barlow Academy, as part of the Festival of Science and Curiosity in Feb. 2022.
After making strong connections with various leaders and schools undertaking Forest School in the M2M area, it was identified that there was an interest and a need for more leaders, within schools and parks. As a result, NSDC offered Vicar Water Country Park as a location for Forest School training and a Forest School Leader course was set up in 2022, with a local trainer provider.
The course ensured that applications were received from across the M2M area and from a range of organisations. Two staff attended from Rainworth Social Action Hub; 3 teachers from 2 schools who have not offered Forest School to their pupils before; 1 nursery school and 2 staff from Newark and Sherwood District council.
The course attendees were given small grants for equipment and they worked hard through the Autumn and Winter to complete their portfolios, with additional help and support from our Engagement Officer through mentoring and networking days. All attendees passed the course, and we now have 8 new Forest School Leaders in Sherwood Forest. Storyteller Nicky Rafferty was commissioned to run a story telling course with the Forest School Leaders and other staff at their host locations, so the leaders are equipped with as many skills as possible to enthral their participants.
Working alongside Inspire Youth Arts, a podcast called “Voices from Sherwood Forest” has been created, interviewing Miner2Major partners about their involvement with their scheme and their wider work.
The podcast has been recorded by the talented young sound recordist Marshall Fairbrother who was a participant on the Able Orchestra and Film Soundtrack projects and is now on a traineeship at Inspire Youth Arts. Episodes include Papplewick Pumping Station and Bestwood County Park.
Why not have a listen of our podcast?
Photographer Alex Hyde has been commissioned to work on six sites, with partners, to gather macro photos of special Sherwood Forest species. The sites to be used will be Ransom Wood, Vicar Water, Spa Ponds, Rainworth Heath, RSPB Edwinstowe and Bestwood Country Park.
The photographs will form part of an exhibition called Sherwood Forest Up Close and will tour around various locations within the Inspire Libraries network. For more details and photos, go to the Sherwood Forest Up Close exhibition page.
Work has also been undertaken with local creative marketing agency, Linney to create 3-D models of insects and interactive Oak trees as vibrant ways of engaging new audiences with the natural wonders of Sherwood Forest.
Girls Achievement Project: Sherwood Forest Get Me in There!
Twelve intrepid 15-year-old female students from Joseph Whitaker school in Rainworth participated in a 6-week project throughout spring and summer 2023.
The project was based around the concept of “I’m a Celebrity” but with the twist on it that we wanted the girls to remain involved and engaged and to not want to get out of Sherwood Forest.
Working with partners, a range of activities were offered that allowed the girls to build self-confidence, visit and explore new areas, connect to nature and learn and undertake new things. The girls enjoyed a day climbing, litter picking and photography at Mill Waters; undertook bushcraft and wildflower seed sowing at Woodland Nuture; camped out at Camp Redwood with Notts Outdoors (including eating insect snacks / lollies!); helped Forestry England with woodland management tasks and contributed to creating a carved sculpture for the school (connecting with the Rainworth Heath sculpture).
Throughout the project the girls also got a great opportunity to learn how to make their own film of their adventures with Front Row films and the final sessions included a walk and talk around the RSPB Sherwood Forest site and film editing. They all achieved their “Discovery” John Muir Award and were presented with their certificates at an end of project event at the school; watching their film with their teachers and families. Members of staff noted since participating in the project that the girls’ levels of attendance and overall attitudes within school and to learning have improved.