Proving the value of ancient woodland in the 21st century
Making Friends The Woodland Way
Posted on: September 29, 2017
It was week of blood sweat and tears, well, not much blood to be honest (a minor scratch from a draw knife). There were some tears as year 7s from Sir William Robertson Academy spent a night in the wood and lots of sweat as they got stuck into physical activities over two days. Our rangers were impressed with the pupils, some of whom were spending their first ever night away from their family, while others hadn’t even camped before.
The week kicked off with the coach arriving on Monday morning for orientation and health and safety talks but soon woods were reverberating to the sound of tent pegs being bashed in as the camp was made (not to be taken down until the end of the week). Each group (accompanied by wonderfully enthusiastic teachers) enjoyed a guided tour of the woods before a hearty hot lunch and the first of three activities; Tree measuring (height and girth), Tree ID and mini-beast hunts. All the data was collected onto maps of the wood which will be used as a health check to see if the woods are thriving or declining. This data will be compared with next years survey. Each of the pupils will receive certificates in honour of their new conservation skills.
After a break back at camp we headed off for another hearty meal and went straight out for fire-lighting, survival shelter building and team-building games. As the night drew in; brave volunteers went off into the darkness clutching nothing but their bat detectors.
Morning heralded much yawning and tales of strange animals in the night but we were soon back onto the activities; Straw-bale building, reciprocal roof building and traditional green woodworking. Lunch (overlapping with the new group) was followed by emotional goodbyes and tired waving.
We’re sure that each of the young boys and girls made new friends and have lots of stories to tell when they’re embarking on the next chapter of their school life. The wood is a little quieter since the tents were packed away and the last coach rumbled off, but we’re already looking forward to next year!