Workshop in the woods: bringing forest ecology into secondary schools

posted on July 9, 2015

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.

BES workshop forest education July 2015

A group at work during the BES workshop on forest education, July 2015

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.
British Ecological Society - Forest Ecology Group
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.

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Workshop: bringing forest ecology into schools

posted on June 12, 2015

British Ecological Society - Forest Ecology GroupThe Sylva Foundation is working in partnership with the British Ecological Society to run a half-day CPD and consultation workshop to establish opportunities and constraints to teaching and learning forest ecology in secondary schools.

Teachers and Educators: are you interested in using local woodland near or on your school grounds to carry out ecological investigations, experiments and monitoring that fit with curriculum requirements? Would you like to learn more about forest ecology from Forest Scientists, Foresters and Woodland Owners? The proposed consultation workshop is an excellent opportunity to explore these ideas and benefit from CPD.

Woodland Owners: would you like your woodland to benefit young people through education activities? Are you interested to understand the needs of secondary school teachers when going on woodland visits?

Forest Scientists and Foresters: would you like to share your knowledge of forest ecology, fieldwork and current needs in research of trees and forests? Are you interested to know the content of secondary school curriculum and ways in which young people can inspired to follow careers into Forestry?


The workshop will use participatory methods and fieldwork to answer several key questions:

1.      What are the requirements for teaching about forest ecology in the new secondary school curriculum for Key Stages 3-5?

2.      How do teachers currently teach forest ecology? For example through case studies, theory, local trips, Field Studies Centres, or in the classroom? What are the barriers or bridges to teaching about forest ecology?

3.      What support do teachers and environmental educators need to teach forest ecology and what support do students need who carry out ecological investigations?

4.      Can myForest for Education and Sylva’s Forest Science projects support these needs? If so how?

Details and Booking form below

British Ecological Society workshop

Monday 6th July 2015, 1pm -5pm

At the Sylva Foundation offices, Manor House, Little Wittenham, OX14 4RA  directions

Workshop Co-ordinator: Jen Hurst , Education Manager,

Participants are asked to pay a booking fee of £10.00 to guarantee their place on this workshop. Funding from the British Ecological Society has enabled the Sylva Foundation to provide this CPD and consultation event at minimal cost. See booking form below.

Lunch: Lunch and drinks will be provided free of charge.

Participants: Twenty participants: Biology and Geography secondary teachers from Key Stages 3 to 5, Environmental Education professionals, Woodland Owners, Forest Ecologists and Foresters.

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