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More and more schools on Anglesey are turning to the island’s woodlands to help educate their pupils.
Hundreds of primary school children have become used to the “outdoor classrooms” provided by woodlands, thanks to Forestry Commission Wales’s Woodlands for Learning team.
But now the island’s secondary schools are also discovering that woodlands offer a stimulating outdoor learning environment for everyone.
For the first time, primary schools attending the annual Anglesey woodland educational days were joined by older children who were able to experience a range of educational woodland activities.
The days, organised by the Forest Education Initiative (FEI) Ynys Mon cluster group and co-ordinated by FC Wales Education Officer Nicola Maysmor, attracted hundreds of children to the privately-owned Carreglwyd Estate, near Llanfaethlu, Holyhead.
During the event, held over two days, the children were split into four groups and tried their hand at a variety of activities including making a fire and cooking, and environmental art.
They also looked at the many benefits provided by trees and learned about the diversity of life in our woodlands.
Nicola said, “For some years, FC Wales has been promoting the use of woodlands for learning on Anglesey, through arranging school visits to local woodlands and through support for the local FEI cluster group.
“This was the third year that we have run the woodland education days and it was great to see secondary schools taking part for the first time.”
As well as giving children a chance to have fun and learn about woodlands, the event also aimed to raise teachers’ awareness of the opportunities offered by woodland-based learning and how such activities can support and enhance the national curriculum.
Following the educational days, the FEI Ynys Mon group held a woodland festival involving a range of activities, local craft and woodcraft demonstrations.
The days were supported by Anglesey Council and sponsored by Wales and West Utilities and Community Foundation in Wales, who organised the funding.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The primary schools taking part in the Anglesey woodland educational days were Ysgol y Parc, Ysgol Llanfachreth, Ysgol Garreglefn, Ysgol y Tywyn and Ysgol Gymuned y Fali. The secondary schools were Ysgol Bodedern, Ysgol Caergybi, Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones and Ysgol David Hughes.
The Forest Education Initiative (FEI) aims to increase the understanding and appreciation, particularly among young people, of the environmental, social and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests and of the link between trees and everyday wood products.
FEI is a network organisation made up of cluster groups attuned to local needs. There are currently 22 cluster groups in Wales. For more information visit http://www.foresteducation.org/local_groups.php
The Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland-based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates FEI on behalf of its partners, often taking on the role of secretary to the cluster groups.
For more information on FEI and how to join your local cluster group, go to www.foresteducation.org or contact Kim Burnham, Wales Co-ordinator on 0300 068 0300, email firstname.lastname@example.org