Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Forest Education Network - National Networking Day, England

I spent last Friday at  Wyre Forest Discovery Centre  in Worcestershire at the Forest Education Network networking day. The FEN is 'hosted' by Learning Outside the Classroom 

Sticks at a conference!
Loads of weaving

I'd arranged to meet Mel who I'd met on the Forest Education Initiative page on Facebook and she'd drive us up there. I was already feeling a bit daft as when I'd filled in the application form I'd put under job title 'Haven't decided yet!' The delegates list had been emailed out and that was me! I was feeling much dafter by the time I got to Mels; at 8am prompt I was easily parked and knocking on her front door. The dog was barking and no one came, I knocked again, nothing. I rang Mel and said 'Hellloooo I'm here!' And she said 'No you're not, wrong Northcote Road'. Who knew there were two?! So I jumped back in the car and found a map app on my phone (Sat nav has been broken for a while) and headed for the other Northcote Rd. Managed to park on a main road and legged it from number a hundred and something down to Mel's. Banged on the door - no bell, and no barking dog this time. I thought this must be the right house as there was mud smeared on the door frame and then realised it was blood, ummm...Still no answer, phoned again and she said 'No, you're in Northcote STREET not Road'. How daft did I feel? VERY!
I ran back up the road feeling pretty hot and flustered by this point and decided to invest in two minutes of looking properly at my phone to find a sat nav app. Sorted that out and put in the postcode and off I went. Finally found the right road, knocked on the beautiful blue door - nicest of the three and no blood, to be greeted by a smiling Mel and a big hug, phew. She was happy as she'd had extra time to print out some business cards to give out at the event. We sat in Mel's car and discussed the fact that we both had banana peel on our dashboard and she turned the key. The car battery was dead! So we jumped into my car and headed north with Mel navigating and horrendously late.

We finally arrived and had a fab networking day as well as looking around the Discovery Centre and doing a couple of workshops. 

We heard Steve Fowkes from the Forestry Comission speak on engaging future generations in our woodland. Trying to get away from the image of a bloke with a chainsaw as being a bad thing, especially when talking to children. 
Sue Moss from Forest Stewardship Council spoke on how educators can make more links between forest products, ecological and economic rights both in the present and future.
A chap whose name I didn't get spoke about jobs in forestry and how enough young people just weren't coming through into the business. This seems to be a familiar call as it was also discussed at the FEN launch a couple of years ago. We need to get children interested and excited about woods not just in early years which is fabulous about getting out and about, but we need to keep that going through primary and secondary education too. I bet everyone reading this is sat on either a wooden chair or is leaning on a wooden desk. That wood need to come from our forests managed by a local workforce.

More Forest Education Network launch and Wyre Discovery Centre photos here

Gabriel Hemery, Cheif Executive of Sylva Foundation spoke about the launch of The New Sylva book. Ooooooh it is BEAUTIFUL. No photos, just incredible drawings of trees. I had to go and find him afterwards so that I could hold the book, it's a definate birthday list one (hint hint dear family) I believe it is going 'on tour' and will be coming to Westonbirt.

I chose the following workshops - 

Creative Engagement -  with Richard Irvine Director, Outdoor Learning who mentioned Guy Claxton and Building Learning Power which is worth a google.

Richard and Muddy Faces bag
We found Roland the round, rolling rock.

Who wants a ball of string like that then?

Managing Woodlands for Conservation and Wildlife Benefit with Wildlife Ranger Phil Rudin and Learning Manager Liz Bunney

Doormouse nibbled acorn 

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