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Local schoolchildren will be calling the tune when a new musical trail is opened in Margam Country Park this summer.
The trail will feature giant musical instruments made from a tree felled within the park itself as part of an exciting woodland project called Wood Vibrations.
And children from five schools in Neath Port Talbot will be creating their own individual instruments from the same Margam tree and will take part in a parade along the new trail during a celebration day on July 13.
The project was made possible after the Forest Education Initiative (FEI) gave Neath Port Talbot FEI Cluster Group funding which was matched by the local authority, the environmental education charity the Field Studies Council and Groundwork Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend.
FEI is administered by Forestry Commission Wales's Woodlands for Learning team and brings together teachers, Forest School practitioners, timber industry representatives and environmental educators who appreciate the value of using woodlands to teach children and adults.
Teachers and helpers spent two days at Margam Country Park with Scott Blytt–Jordens and his team from Dragonfly Creations, which specialises in creating unusual wood products, learning skills to make musical instruments with the children.
The children also went to the park to watch a tree being felled by Paul Thornton of South and West Wales Wildlife Trust and milled with a mobile sawmill.
Amy Phillips, Forestry Commission Wales Education Officer for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, said, "The visit to Margam to see the tree being felled and being involved at every stage helped to increase the children's knowledge of the sustainability of timber.
"Learning about trees, woodlands and timber and the many benefits they provide will help them to appreciate the value of woodlands."
The musical trail will lead from the car park at Margam Country Park to the new Field Studies Council Discovery Centre and will feature large-scale instruments sculpted by Scott.
Forestry Commission Wales puts between £30,000 to £40,000 each year into the FEI partnership fund which is available to all 22 FEI cluster group members in Wales.
The groups taking part in the project are Gnoll Primary School, Tonmawr Primary School, Crynallt Primary School, Neath Abbey Infants, Eastern Primary School and Playworks..! and Wise Up! home education group, which promotes play for children and young people in Neath Port Talbot.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Forestry Commission Wales’s Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland-based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates the Forest Education Initiative on behalf of its partners. For more information: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-77LDBM.
Forest Education Initiative is a network of people interested in all aspects of woodland-based learning. It brings together teachers, Forest School practitioners, timber industry representatives and environmental educators. There are 22 local cluster groups in Wales. For more information: www.foresteducation.org.
Neath Port Talbot FEI Cluster Group comprises the following partners:
Field Studies Council at Margam Country Park Discovery Centre, Margam Country Park staff, Groundwork Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot and Forestry Commission Wales Education Officer Amy Phillips.
Dragonfly Creations is a craft business that specialises in traditional and contemporary techniques of green woodwork to create beautiful and functional products. They run a range of courses tailor-made to cover a broad range of sustainable education and woodland activities.