A look back at the achievements of the Chatham Green Project team over the past twelve months
The Chatham Green Project was very busy with school delivery in 2017, with a big outreach delivery at the start of the year. Our Outreach delivery is based around important environmental days of the year, such as World Wildlife Day and World Environment Day. Look out for these free workshops in 2018! We can also provide ad hoc Outreach workshops to support class projects in your school.
Here at our base in Chatham Green we welcomed a stream of schools and groups on site to learn in our amazing outdoor classroom! Popular topics in 2017 were Field to Fork, Habitats, Animals and Plants. We also saw great uptake in ‘Outdoor Survival’ days. These non-curriculum activities are great for creating opportunities for children to work together to problem solve and support each other. Activities such as den-building and fire-lighting are most popular, but this year we have also picked wild nettles and mint to make tea, gone on pitch-black night walks without torches and made delicious olive and basil breads on the camp-stove. Can’t wait to see what 2018 brings, and our Education Officer already has some fun ideas up her sleeve, we truly believe in making learning as interactive and memorable as possible.
Wilderness Foundation’s Saturday Forest Kids group have had what can only be described as an EPIC 2017! This group started in June, and have met every Saturday in the woods since, making them the longest running single group on site! This year has seen two group members also have their birthday parties here at Wilderness, as well as a Forest Parents day and a very relaxed Christmas-Burger party.
Every member of the Forest Kids group has also come along to our Wilderness Explorers day camps during school holidays, and some even came to our week long Forest Kids camps!
Needless to say, the group know the woods like the back of their hands and have had all sorts of fun down there, including creating houses and gardens, building bridges, unblocking the stream using their own winch systems, and even mining clay!! We can confidently say that we have the best Forest school pack in Essex, hands down!
This year saw the launch of our all new Wilderness Explorers day camps. These very popular camps were a big hit all through the summer, with 73% of children attending Halloween camps being returnees from summer. Our camps are unique for many reasons; they take place across our whole 40 acre nature site, including meadows, woodland and tree plantations, surrounded by a 400 acre arable farm.
Activities are mostly child led and there is no set schedule, so every child is supported to engage in whatever activity they enjoy, from den building to bug hunting, imaginative play, building using natural materials, there is no limit to what they can come up with! This supports them to develop skills and imaginative games over a longer term, and we find the repeat attendees see changes in the natural environment for themselves rather than being taught. We also make sure there is plenty of relaxi-time so that children can simply enjoy being in the beautiful outdoors and have the time to talk and listen to each other. And rather than the energy of twenty children being rebounded off four walls, that energy is absorbed by the outdoor space and we find children feel relaxed, calm and happy when they leave.
The most intrepid youngsters even came to our new week long Forest Kids camps! These camps are a wonderful bonding experience where children not only make new friends but develop a good connection to the natural environment over the week.
Camps will continue throughout 2018 – don’t miss out!