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Royal Forestry Society awards 2017

The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Excellence in Forestry Awards 2017 are looking for the very best in woodland and forestry Education and Learning projects – but only from across Eastern England and the Midlands.

This Award recognises schools, colleges, universities and other training providers who increase awareness, understanding and skills related to the environmental, social and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests, and who may also demonstrate the link between trees and wood products.  The deadline for entries is 7 March 2017, and full details and entry forms are available via the RFS website.

It’s not clear why this excludes the Forest of Avon.

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The work of the International Tree Foundation

The International Tree Foundation works with communities in Africa and the UK.  Its mission is to protect, plant, cultivate and promote trees in partnership with local communities.

It does this in ways which support the:

  • conservation of trees, forests, associated biodiversity and indigenous knowledge about the wise and sustainable use of trees, plants, soils, water and other natural resources;
  • advocacy and promotion of public awareness of both local and global environmental and socio-economic issues created by deforestation and unsustainable agriculture and the potential of trees to rehabilitate degraded land, generate livelihood benefits and combat climate change;
  • building of the capacity of local communities to increase their resilience to environmental degradation and climate shocks through supporting the establishment of community-led natural resource management strategies;
  • improvement of livelihoods in rural communities through the sustainable use of forests and forest products, especially through the cultivation and use of traditional foods and medicines to improve food security, nutrition, and health;
  • adoption of agro-ecology and agroforestry practices to develop sustainable agricultural systems that generate income, create jobs and business opportunities;
  • development of socially and environmentally desirable local governance and community by-laws which meet the needs and aspirations of local communities, while contributing to the formulation of more effective national and regional policies.
It has lots of ways in which you could help …
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Our recent activities

Over the last 3 months the work of the Forest of Avon Trust has included Forest School training at Kingsweston House (pictured on the right) and

  • Running the final phase of our successful accredited training courses in 2016 and producing our 2017 training programme.  Feedback and details of our most recent courses is here;
  • Completing our Dementia Wellbeing pilot project in partnership with Bristol Dementia Partnership and based on this, being contracted to run a new project with them in 2017/18;
  • Promoting free tree packs to 74 primary schools in Bristol and Avon for the Woodland Trust, as the first phase of a (hopefully longer) contract with them;
  • Reviewing tree planting opportunities in primary school grounds in Bristol, Avon and Swindon, linked to a possible Community Forest tree planting scheme;
  • Delivering the Woodland Skills project supported by the OVO Foundation, most recently working with  Friends Groups for the Malago Valley and the Kingsweston Estate in Bristol; and Splatt’s Abbey Wood in South Gloucestershire;
  • Completing Forestry Commission Woodland Management Plans for three woodland owners, discussing two more and being commissioned to update three others;
  • Securing Awards for All Lottery grant funding to lay the hedgerows, improve access and information at The Retreat community woodland;
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Get the Latest Charity Newsletter

Please click for our latest quarterly e-newsletter.

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Mistletoe matters

We didn’t know until recently that there was a Mistletoe Matters website, but there is.  It might be thought rather late (or early) to draw attention to this, but mistletoe is important and interesting at any time of year.

Mistletoe Matters is a consultancy based in Storehouse, Glos, and its website outlines its work and the advice available.  There’s information on growing and managing mistletoe, mistletoe surveys, talks, walks and workshops, and details of books, information sheets and posters.

 

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The Forestry Commission’s post-mince pie strategy

Here’s some helpful advice from the Forestry Commission about how woods are good for us after our Christmas excesses.  They are, the Commission says, the best places for getting fit.

Their feature begins:

“Forestry Commission England is helping visitors to the forest to burn off excess festive calories this New Year by matching some of its most popular walking, running and cycling trails to the calorie counts of favourite Christmas treats.  A leisurely 1.5 mile walk around a forest or woodland could burn off the 270 calories in a mince pie.  Or for those feeling more active, the calories in a Christmas pudding could fuel an hour on a forest cycle trail.  With over 1,500 miles of varied trails, Forestry Commission England provides a chance to escape busy, stuffy gyms and to get fit where you can be inspired by stunning natural surroundings.  In a recent survey by Cycling UK 78% of people believed broadleaf woodland was the environment where they were most likely to enjoy their activity “a lot”, followed by coniferous woodland (63%). This backs up results from the public opinion survey 2013 where 88 per cent of people agreed that forests provide great locations in which to exercise and keep fit.  …”

Happily, the Forest of Avon means that you don’t need to travel far in your car to do this.

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Historic pine forest saved

The BBC reported just before Christmas that a community group has worked with the Woodland Trust to purchase a historic pine forest in the Highlands.  Arkaig Community Forest in partnership with the trust raised thousands of pounds to buy the 2,500 acre site after Forestry Commission Scotland gave the organisations first refusal to purchase the land.

Well done to you all.

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Seven million native trees and plants for HS2

Crowders Nurseries in Lincolnshire has been awarded a 10-year contract for seven million native trees and plants to be grown from seed to create new woodland along the High Speed 2 line.  It’s said that more than 1,000 hectares of woodland will be created.

HS2 said that the tree-planting will create an estimated 25,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships.

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The Lilliputian world of leaf litter

The Nature Diary in the Guardian the other day had a feature on leaf litter which included a focus on silk button spangle galls (illustrated) from which tiny wasps will emerge in the Spring to lay eggs on oak trees:

“… looking closely at leaf litter, we soon find galls of two species of wasp, both of which are on fallen oak leaves.  At first sight one looks like a mass of moth eggs, lovely golden brown circles with a hollow in the middle.  These are silk button spangle galls, and each has a minute larva inside, which will develop during winter.  Looked at later under the microscope, they remind us of a scrumptious doughnut.”

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Happy Christmas from the Training Staff at the Forest of Avon Trust!

We’ve seen an unprecedented demand for our Forest School & Outdoor Learning Training Courses in 2016 and we are very much looking forward to training more of you in the future!

Having run accredited Forest School training since 2010, we pride ourselves on the training and support we have provided many teachers, nursery leaders, outdoor trainers, support workers and others.

We gather feedback after the courses and have loved reading your comments – some of which you can read below:

A huge thank you to Sara (who took Level 1, Outdoor First Aid & Level 3 with us this year), for sharing her wonderful photography.

“Enjoyable. Inspiring. Informative. Relaxed. Lovely venue. Everything we required was accessible. Trainer knew her subject very well and passed on her knowledge clearly. Loved the ‘learning by doing’ aspect.

Level 3 Forest School Trainee, Oct 2016

“Overall it was a very enriching and fascinating week.” 

Level 3 Forest School Trainee, Oct 2016

“I really enjoyed the applied practical element of the course – this made it so much better than other First Aid courses I have attended.”

ITC Outdoor First Aid Trainee, Oct 2016

 “It has been my First Aid course, so I found it truly interesting and helpful. The trainers were both knowledgeable and very kind, taking the time to ask us our impressions and feedback. The course was very well scheduled, altering outdoor and indoor sessions, and I particularly appreciated that we did a lot of practice. The First Aid Manual they gave us, is a great tool to keep and to study on.” 

ITC Outdoor First Aid Trainee, Oct 2016

“The venue was ideal – beautiful grounds and perfect location for Forest School training. The trainer – Jon, was excellent. He was patient, encouraging, knowledgeable and supportive. I fully enjoyed the course and would like to take it further….”

Level 1 Forest School Trainee, Oct 2016

“Had a fantastic two days. Clarified my thinking about what a Forest School is, the history and the ethos. Gave lots of ideas for activities in the forest, some new to me, some I’d seen before, but useful refresher. The course increased my confidence, made me realise what I knew already to some extent. I know it’s hard to cover all bases on a two day course but Jon built in lots of time to chat, exchange ideas, build relationships, he was friendly, approachable, adaptable, really good leader, thank you!”

Level 1 Forest School Trainee, Oct 2016

“Thank you so much for such an awesome 2 weeks, I truly cannot wait to get going with the next stage of my Forest School journey. The course was everything I wanted, and more. It’s one thing delivering a course to people attending because they need new skills and knowledge, it’s another delivering to those attending because they have a desire for it to be the start of something big and new, to change their path in life – and I know I speak for everyone when I say your approach, style and just general loveliness meant we are all on a solid track to doing just that!!!”

Level 3 Forest School Leader Trainee, July – Aug 2016  

“Very friendly, helpful trainer. Have lots of new ideas as well as gaining an insight into the administration/rules & regulations regarding Forest Schools. I am currently a parent volunteer and feel I am able to offer more within the Forest Schools sessions now – thank you.”

Level 1 Forest School Trainee, March 2016

“It was a wonderfully grounding experience and I can’t wait to share some of the activities with both my pupils and my own friends and children.

Level 1 Forest School Trainee, March 2016

Interested? In February 2017, we are offering: More »

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