Sign in the Woods

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24 APRIL 2013NEWS RELEASE No: 15924

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Forestry Commission Scotland is holding forestry art sessions for deaf families, teaching them about the local wildlife and encouraging their creativity in woodland themed art classes.

The project, dubbed ‘Sign in the Woods’, included a group of 20 children aged 5-11 years old, along with their parents, painting and carving wooden reliefs of animals and birds to form an instillation in the walled community wildlife garden, featuring pictures of creatures in sign language and braille carved into the wood.

Seven sessions have been held at Hermitage of Braids woodlands near Morningside in Edinburgh and are for deaf or hard of hearing families from Edinburgh and the central belt.  The children will be accompanied by some of their parents and specially trained Commission staff.

Romena Huq, engagement officer with Forestry Commission Scotland said: “This project is all about encouraging the deaf community in central Scotland to engage with their local woodlands. Woodland areas can often feel off-limits to people with disabilities but this is absolutely not the case – with some careful teaching, deaf children can receive huge benefits and enjoyment out of playing in the woods.

“The project will provide a focus for deaf and signing families to meet each other, and get outdoors and enjoy activities in the woods. It’s also a chance for busy families to stop and be inspired by flora and fauna of the woods.”

Debra Wherrett, who took part in the project with her two sons, said: "We had a lovely day at Sign in the Woods. It was a fabulous event for deaf families with lots of activities offer - we only attended one day and my boys thoughts its was great and are desperate to go again. They helped paint a heron which they were really proud of."

A ceremony to officially open the art instillation will take place in the summer.

 Notes to Editors

1.    Issued by Golley Slater on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland

2.    The walled garden where the instillation will be displayed was built by The City of Edinburgh Council Natural Heritage Service with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish National Heritage.

3.    Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government’s Environment & Forestry Directorate

4.    For news, events and recreation information log on to or

5.    The FCS agobair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridhcoilltearachdRiaghaltasna h-Alba agus a’ riaghladhnan 660,000 heactaireanann an OighreachdnaCoilleNàiseanta, a’ dìonadh, a’ cumailsmachd air agus a’ leudachadhnancoillteangusbuannachdan a thoirtdhacoimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidhagus, agobair an aghaidhatharrachadhgnàth-shìde.

6.    Media enquiries to Alix Laidlaw at Golley Slater on 0131 220 8787