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Pupils from Bangor schools are to design and build a futuristic-looking portable forest shelter which will be used to bring the benefits of outdoor learning to children and young people in Gwynedd.
The children will be helped by other volunteers to construct a “geodesic dome” made out of straight bits of wood coppiced from local woodlands, primarily on the Penrhyn estate near Bangor.
The wood will be joined together in a geometric shape to form a dome of about 20ft in diameter which will become a focal point for woodland education in the county.
The shelter got the go-ahead after the Gwynedd Forest Education Initiative(FEI) cluster group was awarded £2,500 by the GB-wide FEI partnership fund, which is administered by the Forestry Commission.
FEI operates through a network of local groups which bring a variety of people together to develop and deliver woodland-based learning.
The Gwynedd cluster group, which is based in the Bangor area, has only recently reformed and was successful in its first application to the partnership fund.
Kim Burnham, Forestry Commission Wales’s education team manager in north and mid Wales, said, “Woodlands provide a stimulating outdoor learning environment and the geodesic dome will certainly be an eye-catching addition to the ‘tools’ available to educationalists in Gwynedd.”
Through its Woodlands for Learning team, FC Wales contributes £35,000 a year to the FEI partnership fund, which is ring-fenced for projects to increase woodland education in Wales.
Two other cluster groups in Wales who applied for funding were also successful.
The Aberystwyth cluster group was awarded £4,900 to develop a woodland area with open green spaces at the local primary school in Pontrhydfendigaid.
And the Newport cluster group was awarded £1,787 to develop three tool chests, with bilingual cards describing how the woodland implements can be used, which will be available to all Forest School-trained cluster group members in the area.
Cluster groups can apply for up to 50% funding for projects that meet the FEI’s aims to offer woodland-based learning opportunities which can improve children and young people’s emotional and physical well-being.
NOTES TO EDITORS
A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
The Forest Education Initiative aims to increase the understanding and appreciation, particularly among young people, of the environmental, social, and economic potential of trees, and of the link between the tree and everyday wood products.
The FEI Partnership fund has three rounds each year – in February, June and October – and each cluster group in the UK can put forward one project per round.
The Forestry Commission Wales 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.
For more information on FEI, contact Kim Burnham on 0300 068 0150, email email@example.com or visit www.foresteducation.org
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email firstname.lastname@example.org