Teachers, woodland owners, and ecologists attended Monday’s half day workshop to help Sylva unlock the potential to use local woodlands and school grounds for ecological fieldwork.
Sylva’s Jen Hurst provided an overview of recent changes to the secondary school curriculum, together with opportunities for teaching and learning about British forestry and woodlands. Gabriel Hemery led an introduction to forestry field techniques including measuring tree stem diameter and height, and estimating tree canopy cover. Nadia Barsoum from Forest Research introduced a new biodiversity assessment technique. Participants then enthusiastically carried out fieldwork in Little Wittenham Woods which generated many discussions, insights and questions.
The workshop identified opportunities and constraints for secondary schools to carry out ecological field work in local woodlands. A report from the workshop will outline these in addition to recommendations for woodland owners wanting to work with schools and develop education activities. This pilot workshop will inform Sylva’s ongoing education programme as well as those of other forest education providers.
This workshop was made possible by a grant from the British Ecological Society Forest Ecology Group of the BES. Thanks also goes to the Earth Trust for kind permission to work in Little Wittenham Woods and support from their team.