Forest School teacher training

I am currently training to be a level 3 Forest Schools teacher. The course takes around nine months to complete and then I will be able to lead group of children or families for Forest School activities in the woods. Forest School teaches practical skills like tree identification, whittling, fire-lighting and den building alongside life skills like team-work, emotional intelligence and confidence building.

I am so excited! I have been wanting to do this training for years, but have never managed to find the money or time until now. I spotted a course in the woodland near to where we have our cabin, and decided to bite the bullet and book in. I have scraped together the cash and called in favours from family and friends to help with childcare. The course takes seven practical skills days and then 120 hours of writing. I have to plan and run six sessions for a client group taking then through a Forest Schools experience in either a wood belonging to a school or other setting. I am loving the course so far and thought I would share ten photos here on my blog that I took over the past few training days.

 

IMG_5846 The morning sun shining through the leaves still clinging onto a Beech tree.

IMG_5889Making an Elder bead necklace.

IMG_5884I co-lead a session making ‘nature crowns’ as part of a presentation on educational theory

IMG_5886 Making tent pegs by cutting and whittling a piece of wood.

IMG_5626 Collecting interesting tiny items on a woodland walk.

IMG_5629 Making a home for an owl!

IMG_5638 Using viewfinders to focus in on textures.

IMG_5831Lighting a fire using a flint ready to cook my lunch.

IMG_5641 Learning how to make a ‘wood-cookie’

IMG_5649My shadow looking enormous in thermal layers and waterproof! Full days spent out doors were wonderful but cold! It was very important to dress for the weather and drink lots of cups of tea.

Watching the Solar Eclipse

We took a little time out from my Forest school training course on friday (more about this soon) to watch the Solar eclipse. We noticed the temperature dramatically drop and the light slowly change to a weird dusk-like shade of blue. The sun looked hazy and the photographs that I took turned out very strange, with the sun looking not like a circle in the sky but more like it had been smudged and spread out in all directions.

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Spring Equinox

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One of my aims for this year is to learn more about the special days of the year following the Pagan calendar. I have always been interested in the changing of the seasons and the solstice, but I want to learn more. I plan to post on each special day this year with a reflection on what is happening in my garden and what I am up to.

Today is March 20th, Spring Equinox, the point in the year when hours of darkness and light are balanced. The midpoint between the longest day (summer solstice) and shortest day (winter solstice) This year the Spring Equinox co-insides with two other special celestial events, a supermoon and a solar eclipse.

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Noticing more bird-song everywhere

Feeling over-whelmed by my to-do list but grateful to have such interesting things to do!

Wishing there were more hours in the day

Eating the first wild garlic shoots as they appear

Wondering when I will get around to planting seeds this spring

Wearing thermal leggings, thermal t-shirts and thermal socks

Watching Orange is the new black (again)

Listening To my neighbour’s music, son’s DVD, my kids rowing and wishing for silence

Drinking Not enough water and too many cups of tea

Planning My Outdoor playgroup activities

IMG_5815Yellow flowers on the Forsythia. Primroses and Daffodils are opening to splashes yellow around my garden too.

IMG_5829  The ornamental cherry tree is speckled with pink today. A few brave buds have opened their baby pink flowers and the rest are sure to follow suit as soon as we get a bit of sunshine. I cut some branches from this tree a week ago and brought them inside to hurry spring along a little. They opened within days and brightened up my kitchen just in time for mother’s day.

IMG_5823The first wild spring greens are appearing, nettles and wild garlic pop up around the margins of my garden. I love to eat both of these plants, yesterday I nibbled on a few garlic shoots straight from the earth, delicious, strong and a real sign that spring has arrived.

IMG_5822I have finally finished the new chicken run and the chucks are happy with their new spaces. I can now clear the paths and begin planting. I went mad with pruning last weekend and tidied up ready for spring. I love this time of year so much.

 

 

Twelve Principles for twelve months – March – Efficient energy planning

Throughout 2015 I will be looking at Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Principles. I have allocated one principle per month at random. I will aim to find a relevant image, some quotations around the subject, some possible applications and a challenge for myself that relates to the principle and the Permaculture activity I am involved in at that time. March – Efficient energy planning

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It was hard to find an image that demonstrates the principle of ‘efficient energy planning’!   I finally settled on this one, of the abundant fresh produce harvested from my garden one day in August, and here is why… Years ago we used to have an allotment. It was about a mile from our house, so we used to walk or cycle there which took 30 mins at least. We began by spending whole weekends tending our plot. After a while we started renovating our house and this squeezed our available time to devote to the allotment. A few more years passed and we had our first child, by this point our free time to spend on the plot was minimal and by the time we had travelled there our daughter was fed up of being in her pushchair and needing our attention. So the allotment got more and more neglected and eventually we gave it up.

Soon after that we moved house to our current home with a huge south-facing garden. We now grow our fruit and veg in the garden, so we have only to step outside the back door to tend to our plants. We now have three children so there would be no way we could make the two mile round trip and devote the time required to the upkeep of an allotment, but by growing our food where we spend all our time, the garden gets attention little and often, And the results are wonderful! This demonstrates the importance of efficient energy planning in terms of Zoning, placing items used most often, closest to your home. The purpose of this is to minimise wasted energy in your system.

QUOTATIONS

Zoning is a conceptional design tool used for managing our own energies. Radiating out from the centre are zones one to five. Zone 00 is the self at the centre. On a land based design, elements that are in need of the most attention are placed nearer to the home and yourself than those that require less frequent attention.                                                                                                                 L. Macnamara. People and Permaculture 2012

Efficient energy planning is all about three things: zones, sectors, and slope. Using these three categories, you can set up your homestead so that you will need to use the least energy possible. This means energy from people and energy in other forms such as wind or water. In order to get the most accomplished in the least amount of time, increasing efficiency you should follow these ideas.                                                                         New England Permaculture Homestead blog  www.nepermhome.wordpress.com

 

We make every effort to put in structures that will produce or conserve energy, rather than structures that will continuously consume energy. Our aim is to catch, store and use energy before it is lost from the system.                                                                                                                  Ross and Jenny Mars. Getting Started in Permaculture 1994 

APPLICATIONS

1. Putting items needing to go upstairs into a basket placed on the bottom step and carrying them all up in one go at the end of the day rather than making multiple trips up and down the stairs throughout the day.

2. Storing water close to where it is needed, ideally at the top elevation of your site so that it can be moved with minimal effort using gravity.

3. Planting your herbs just outside the backdoor, so you can easily grab a handful while cooking dinner, ideally without even needing to put on your shoes!

CHALLENGE

I knew that this month would be a hectic one for me, as I am embarking on a number of different training courses and projects that are demanding of my time. So in order to efficiently plan my energy, I decided to get a leg-up on this challenge by completing it a few weeks ago. I wanted to look at my Permaculture Diploma in terms of Zoning and ensure that I had a good handle on what my diploma designs were going to be and how they fitted into the zones of my life. The diagram below shows zones in my life and ideas for related designs slotted into the relevant zone. This can help me decide which designs to prioritise by indicating how closely they are related to the centre of my life, my Zone 00.

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