Forest School is teaching people how to love nature

From left, Nicola Campbell, Groundworks marketing and community engagement officer, Anne Corrigan, Big Local Central Jarrow Project Coordinator, Tom Mower, Groundworks communities coordinator, and Rebecca Maw, its communities manager.
From left, Nicola Campbell, Groundworks marketing and community engagement officer, Anne Corrigan, Big Local Central Jarrow Project Coordinator, Tom Mower, Groundworks communities coordinator, and Rebecca Maw, its communities manager.
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A new network has sprung to life to encourage people from across South Tyneside to learn and teach by embracing nature.

Initiated by communities’ charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN), the Tyne and Wear Forest School Network aims to improve the quality of outdoor and environmental education.

It will expand an existing Forest School model – which has been operating at Groundwork’s West Boldon Lodge outdoor education site for 12 years – by bringing together teachers and current project leaders to share best practice. They will do so by spending time at various nature sites, with members contributing skills and ideas at quarterly themed meetings.

Tom Mower, Groundwork STAN’s communities coordinator, said: “The new network is open to anybody who has an interest in Forest School.

“That can be people who have been delivering it for years, or who just want to know more about the concept.

“The aim is to improve Forest School delivery across the region by sharing skills and ideas, improving best practice, and getting as many people involved as possible.

“This in turn will help local children benefit from the great experience of being out and about learning about nature, and gaining life skills too.”

The network held its inaugural meeting in January, with a highly encouraging turnout of 18 people taking part.

It next meets from 4pm to 7pm on Tuesday, March 22, at West Boldon Lodge, off Newcastle Road, opposite the Quadrus business centre.