Tool chests to lift the lid on woodland education

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26 AUGUST 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14866

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A cash boost of almost £2,000 will enable children in the Newport area to lift the lid on woodland education.

Schools which use the outdoors to complement their classroom lessons will be able to loan a tool chest containing items associated with our forests, along with bilingual cards describing what the tools are and how they can be used.

Three tool chests will be developed after the Newport Forest Education Initiative (FEI) cluster group was awarded £1,787 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 chests will contain small and large saws, knives, potato peelers (used by small children to peel the bark from trees), axes and secateurs of all sizes, along with the cards which, it’s hoped, will introduce and increase the use of the Welsh language in English speaking schools.

The tool chests will be kept at three schools in the Newport area and will be available free to all Forest School-trained cluster group members.

Kim Burnham, of Forestry Commission Wales’s education team, said, “The tool chests will be a valuable resource to bring to life for children some of the lessons to be learned in our woodlands.”

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 Gwynedd cluster group was awarded £2,500 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.

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.


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 or visit

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email