22nd September to 21st October 2009
Mhairi MacGillivray-Edwards reports on the school visits
I have now waved goodbye to the last school group to visit the One Oak from Stonesfield Primary School, packed away the last measuring tape and bug pot and taken a last look around the oak tree until January, when the big felling day will take place. It has all been a wonderful experience and tree-mendous fun! I have met lots of fantastic children who have all been very keen to come out and meet the One Oak tree and I know they all really enjoyed themselves too, especially as we were very lucky with the weather and only had one slightly damp day with Woodstock School and none of the usual Autumnal winds.
The first visit I had was from the local Primary School at Bladon. They could just walk straight up from their school to the woodland, where they were the first to have a go at the activities I had planned for them. We had a beautiful sunny day that day and no coach to get back for, which meant we could take our time exploring around the tree. I also went back into school with the visiting class and got some very useful feedback from the children. So a big thank you to the children and their teacher.
The next visits were classes from Willowcroft School who are all experienced Forest Schoolers and made the most of their time out in the woodland. They also made the very exciting discovery of a very strange looking minibeast, which we still don’t know the name of. Woodfarm School visited three times with their classes and along with Woodstock and Stonesfield schools they all did some very good measuring of the tree and used their senses well to discover more about the tree and the nature in the woodland.
All the activities were popular: some really enjoyed finding minibeasts; some found the scientific activities very interesting and others enjoyed having some time to reflect and experience the oak tree with their senses. It was amazing how close our measurements with a ‘Human Clinometer’ were to the scientist’s measurements and I am waiting with great anticipation to find out the actual age of the tree to see if we were right with the154 years old that most groups got.
So that is this part of the OneOak project finished and it has been a great privilege to be allowed to work with all the children who have visited and of course the oak tree. For now I will get back to my other exciting job of being a Forest School Leader, but I look forward to the day when we will meet again for the next stage in the oak trees life. Meanwhile I hope the children have lots more fun finding out about trees and if you have any feedback or work you would like to share then please do send it in. See you…
Forest School Leader, Oxfordshire Forest School Service