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Forest Friends get stuck in

posted on January 30, 2017

This weekend we welcomed more than 30 of our new Forest Friends to help plant their sponsored plots. Over 900 trees were planted with some 40 different tree species.

Despite some light rain on the Sunday and muddy conditions, spirits remained undeterred. The wonderful Education shelter designed by Julian Angus helped considerably, as did toasted marshmallows and hot drinks served round the fire. It was heartening to hear the stories from our new Friends; whether celebrating a new life or remembering a loved one, or sharing in the simple passion of planting trees for the good of us all.

Nine hundred down but 6,400 trees still to plant! Over the coming weeks we’ll be welcoming more planting help, including hundreds of local primary school children, and some of our business sponsors. If you’re an individual interested in sponsoring one of the few remaining plots for your family or loved one, or interested in business sponsorship, then don’t delay! The final public planting weekend is scheduled for 25th and 26th February.

We hope you enjoy a few of the many photos capturing the creation of the Future Forest. If you’ve already planted your trees then do share any of your photos in our Facebook album.

Read more about the Forest Friends scheme


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Hundreds of young people to help plant the Future Forest

posted on January 20, 2017
Sylva's Tree Team Educators Jen Hurst and Pieternel Overweel teach the Sylva Plant a Tree! song to Robins Reception class at St Francis Church of England Primary School.

Sylva’s Tree Team Educators Jen Hurst and Pieternel Overweel teach the Sylva Plant a Tree! song to Robins Reception class at St Francis Church of England Primary School.

We have welcomed in the New Year in the best way possible: inviting hundreds of young people to plant trees in the Future Forest.

Sylva’s staff, Education Manager Jen Hurst and volunteer Pieternel Overweel, have been working closely with 20 primary school classes (500 children) thanks to funding from Tesco Bags of Help and the Ernest Cook Trust.

Sylva Tree Team

Sylva Tree Team

During January we have been visiting the schools to talk about trees, forestry and tree planting. All the children will be visiting the site of the Future Forest to plant their trees during February. These young students are excited to be joining the Sylva Tree Team.

 

School students planting the Future Forest

School students planting the Future Forest

In addition to preparing the primary schools we’ve been welcoming secondary school students and special needs groups, thanks to collaboration with Earth Trust who have long-established links with local schools.

The 600+ children helping us plant the new woodland will be a long way forward in a journey learning about and taking responsibility for the environment, after all:

“All human beings should plant one tree for every year that they live on Earth.”
Gabriel Hemery & Sarah Simblet, The New Sylva (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014)

 

 


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The Sylva Tree Team has landed

posted on January 13, 2017
Sylva Tree Team

The Sylva Tree Team

Hundreds of schoolchildren are poised to visit the Future Forest to help plant trees. Luckily they will be assisted by the Sylva Tree Team.

Name: Sylva Tree Team

Members:  Captain Chainsaw, Bark the Wonder Dog, Professor Nuts, and Sally the Psychic Squirrel

Base:  Tree Team Zone in the Sylva Future Forest

Mission:  caring for trees and forests

Powers:  silviculture

Gear:  super saws, tree gun, book of knowledge

Captain Chainsaw is strong and fearless. She helps trees grow better by pruning their branches. Sometimes she cuts trees down so their timber can be used to build houses or make furniture. Her work in the forest lets sunlight reach the trees, and helps make homes and food for wildlife. In the spring she likes to help Professor Nuts with planting more trees. She loves her steel-capped boots and super saws. Her favourite tree is the cedar.

Bark the Wonder Dog is always busy helping the Sylva Tree Team. His favourite job is digging holes to help Professor Nuts plant more trees. He often carries sticks in his mouth for Captain Chainsaw. When he thinks no one is looking, he sometimes chases Sally Squirrel!

Professor Nuts is a genius. He writes books to help everyone learn about trees and how to look after them. He knows everything about how trees grow, which trees to plant where, and how to protect them from pests and diseases. He invented a tree gun which can plant one thousand trees every hour. He sometimes forgets things, but Bark is always nearby to remind him. His favourite tree is the walnut and he really likes wearing wellington boots.

Sally the Psychic Squirrel is very sparky and lively but often invisible in the treetops. She has special powers and gives the Sylva Tree Team clues to help them see what might happen to forests in the future. This is important because trees take a long time to grow. Her archenemy is Grey Squirrel who threatens her home planet.

Sylva Tree Team poster - click to download

Sylva Tree Team poster – click to download

Resources

Download the Sylva Tree Team poster

Visit the Sylva Tree Team webpage

 

All images copyright © 2017 Mark Hawkins

Category: EDUCATION
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First tree planted in the Future Forest

posted on December 9, 2016
Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree in the Future Forest

Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree, a Wild Pear, in the Future Forest

This week Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight visited Sylva Foundation to discuss the various collaborative projects running with Sylva Foundation. After discussions with CEO Gabriel Hemery concluded the pair planted the first tree in the Sylva Future Forest; a wild pear! We’re very grateful to various funders for supporting the creation of this new woodland at the Sylva Wood Centre, among them the Woodland Trust.

The main area of the Future Forest will be planted with our Forest Friends in the New Year. It will contain some 40 species, including locally-sourced native trees, native trees with ‘exotic genetics’ (i.e. matched to projected climate), and exotic species from around the world. Read more about the Future Forest.

Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree in the Future Forest

Beccy Speight and Gabriel Hemery plant the first tree in the Future Forest


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myForest Development Christmas Appeal

posted on November 29, 2016

Help us help Britain’s woodland by supporting our myForest development project. Thanks to the support of the Dulverton Trust, any donation made via the Big Give between 29th November – 2nd December will be doubled! You can read more about the Appeal on the Big Give website or go straight to the donate page.

myForest development Christmas appeal with the Big Give

myForest development Christmas appeal with the Big Give

Healthy woodland improves the environment. It cleans our air, supports wildlife, creates fertile soil, helps relieve flooding and provides space for learning, employment and relaxation.

The myForest planning tool was developed as a free, online resource for woodland owners, managers and agents to help and encourage them to map and plan to manage their woodland sustainably. myForest is used currently by more than 4,700 owners nationwide to map and manage almost 60,000ha of woodlands across Britain. Next year we want to develop new tools to make myForest even more effective and encourage more owners to use it.

Thank you for your support.

 


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Wood Week captivates primary school

posted on November 16, 2016

An innovative week-long programme of outdoor and indoor education about trees, forestry and wood — Wood Week — was developed and tested with one lucky primary school.

Sylva Foundation’s Education Manager Jen Hurst teamed up with Forester Paul Williams, Carpenter Julian Angus and staff at Combe Church of England Primary School to provide children with a week-long programme of activities on the topic of British trees, forestry and wood. This was supported by head teacher Charlie Marshall as part of the school’s new Curiosity, Creativity and Challenge curriculum.


The week kicked off with an assembly on the OneOak Project  which provided the school with inspiration and ideas for their own tree; a Norway Spruce to be felled in the school grounds. On Day Two Paul Williams of Trees and Gardens came into school and ran forestry workshops for the children explaining his work and equipment. Jen worked with children to learn more about Norway Spruce, its biology and value and to estimate the height and age of the tree before its felling. Once felled the children re-measured the tree and watched Paul cross cut the trunk 122 rounds so that each child took one home.

Julian Angus runs his own carpentry business from the Sylva Wood Centre but also works with schools to make wood products.  On Day Three of Wood Week Julian set up a ‘pop up’ wood workshop in the school grounds and gave the Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11 years) the task of making two benches out of Douglas-fir timber. The children were completely hands-on measuring, sawing, hammering, bolting and working as a team. The benches are needed by the school to increase the seating area for outdoor learning. Key Stage 1 children (aged 4-7 years) also enjoyed using tools making tree cookies with hand drills at their Forest School sessions on the same day.

Jen Hurst led classes outside on Day Four with engaging tree identification activities. Learning the names and uses of the trees will enable staff and pupils to use their school grounds more for outdoor learning. On the same day Years 5 and 6 (aged 9-11) learned how wood was used in the past by building a wattle and daub wall out of hazel and willow as part of their Anglo-Saxon history lesson. In classrooms teachers taught lessons related to Wood Week, including literacy by comparing Norway Spruce and Oak, debated the of felling trees, and produced artwork using materials from trees. These lesson plans, resources, photos, films and activities will be uploaded onto TIMBER! website.

The finale of the week was the branding of 10 logs of Lawson Cypress donated by Blenheim Estate. Julian Angus set up a ‘pop up’ Black Smith forge complete with bellows. Key Stage two children selected the individual iron letters and branded the log poles to spell out the school’s values. Key Stage one children helped shave the bark off the logs with a spokeshave. A final school assembly was held outdoors and the offspring of the OneOak tree, a young oak sapling, was planted to replace the Norway Spruce.

There has been lots of positive feedback from parents and children, one 8 year old said:

“it was the best week of my life!” and many children have expressed an interest in careers in forestry and woodwork.

Charlie Marshall Head Teacher said:

“Schools can focus on the negatives of deforestation so we decided to look at the positive…and learn about the journey of a tree through its life…”

 

Sylva’s Education Manager Jen Hurst explained the many outcomes from Wood Week:

  • educating young people, teachers and their families about British trees, forestry and wood
  • training and enabling school teachers to use their school grounds more for outdoor learning
  • improving school grounds with benches and sculptures to enable outdoor learning
  • giving young people a genuine hands on experience making products out of wood
  • providing young people with the opportunity to meet professional foresters and carpenters
  • developing new resources for teaching and learning on British trees, forestry and wood that will be available nationally on Sylva’s TIMBER! website. “

 

If your school is interested in a Wood Week or Julian Angus workshops please contact Jen Hurst

 


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Local school children gear up for the Future Forest

posted on October 5, 2016
Willowcroft children at the Future Forest September 2016

Children from Willowcroft Community School at the Future Forest, September 2016

Tesco Bags of Help grant supports the Future Forest

Tesco Bags of Help grant supports the Future Forest

We announced two weeks ago the fabulous news that we will receive a grant from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme – read more. Voting by members of the public in Tesco stores near us in south Oxfordshire could help us attract even more funding and help us support more work with young children from local schools. Voting opens 31st October to 13th November.

This week the local paper visited to cover the story and we were lucky to have the support of children from one of the primary schools taking part in planting the Future Forest. Seven children from Willowcroft Community School came to see the bare arable field, where they will return after Christmas and help plant 7,500 trees.


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Volunteer supports our forest education work

posted on September 8, 2016

We’re very fortunate to have a new volunteer working in support of our forest education programme.

Pieternel Overweel, Sylva Education Officer

Pieternel Overweel, Sylva Education Officer

Pieternel Overweel has a background in Art, with a MA in Art History at Free University Amsterdam, and studied Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Arts at the Hague. She was an art educator at the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, California, and focussed on teaching arts and crafts when she lived in Stockholm, Sweden. Currently she runs her own company in web and print design.

Pieternel got in touch with Sylva Foundation looking for ways to get out of an office job. Currently she is finishing the Forest School Leader training at Hill End Centre, Oxfordshire.

Talking about why she decided to volunteer for Sylva Pieternel said:

“I volunteer for Sylva Foundation because it integrates the full circle of interplay of nature and arts, and at the same time allows me to put energy in something that actually matters; helping build a more sustainable future.”

We rely on the generosity of individual volunteers who provide a very wide range of skills, knowledge and experience. Find out more.

 

Category: EDUCATION
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Congratulations to Blenheim forester Nick Baimbridge

posted on September 7, 2016

Congratulations to Blenheim Palace forestry foreman Nick Baimbridge for his recent Long Service Award from the Royal Forestry Society.

Nick Baimbridge long service award on the RFS news

Nick Baimbridge long service award on the RFS news

We worked closely with Nick during the OneOak education project (2009-12). He felled the magnificent OneOak tree while watched by 350 schoolchildren plus invited guests.

Looking back over his 30 years Nick says:

“The reason I took up forestry was that I was an outdoor lad, interested in nature and I didn’t want to be stuck inside working in an office. What I enjoy the most is the variety of work we do – never enough time to get bored but the proudest moment that sticks out is being involved in the One Oak project starting in 2009, which at the time was the most studied oak tree in Britain. I would encourage people to take up forestry, it is a great way of life and woodlands always need managing.”

Read more about Nick’s award


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Welcome to new craftsperson-in-residence

posted on August 24, 2016

We are delighted to welcome a new Rycotewood craftsperson-in-residence to the Sylva Wood Centre. Jan Waterston graduated in July from the Rycotewood Furniture Centre at Oxford City College.

Jan Waterston designer maker

Jan Waterston, designer maker, working at the Sylva Wood Centre studio supported by Rycotewood Furniture Oxford.

Jan has a passion for exploring creative concepts and turning them into tangible objects that are not only visually stimulating but that are functional in use.

Velo RS by Jan Waterston

Velo RS by Jan Waterston

Talking of his arrival at the Sylva Wood Centre Jan Waterston commented:

“I’m really pleased to move into the studio at Sylva. It’s great to be surrounded by such a diverse and inspiring group of crafts people, in such a beautiful setting.”

Make sure you visit Jan Waterston’s website to see more of his beautiful craft.

Read more about Sylva’s relationship with Rycotewood Furniture Centre

Category: EDUCATION, WOOD
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