The Winter’s Spring

To mark World Poetry Day, here’s some seasonal John Clare – an extract from

The Winter’s Spring

The winter comes; I walk alone,

I want no bird to sing;

To those who keep their hearts their own

The winter is the spring.

No flowers to please – no bees to hum –

The coming spring’s already come.


I never want the grass to bloom:

The snowstorm’s best in white.

I love to see the tempest come

And love its piercing light.

The dazzled eyes that love to cling

O’er snow-white meadows sees the spring.


I love the snow, the crumpling snow

That hangs on everything,

It covers everything below

Like white dove’s brooding wing,

A landscape to the aching sight,

A vast expanse of dazzling light.


It is the foliage of the woods

That winters bring – the dress,

White Easter of the year in bud,

That makes the winter Spring.

The frost and snow his posies bring,

Nature’s white spurts of the spring.


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A Forestry Commission Teacher’s Pack

The Forestry Commission says its Early Years Teacher’s Pack is a free learning resource, which contains curriculum-linked activities, to teach learners about forests and how they’re looked after for people and wildlife.

All the activities have been designed to be used outdoors, in your local woods, park or school grounds.  There are also Gruffalo-themed forest activities that can be carried out at home.

To get the pack , simply sign up here.

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Tree Power Pack

The International Tree Foundation is running a project called ‘Tree Power’ and a newly designed Tree Power Teachers’ Resource Pack is now available.

The Pack is an activity pack which gives primary schools the tools to engage young people in protecting and caring for the natural world.  It brings together the two educational strands of global and outdoor learning, to enable children to become both informed ‘Tree Explorers’ and active ‘Tree Guardians’.

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Leaf pollution

Here’s a story from the Environmental News network of falling leaves polluting the soil with hydrocarbons.  It begins:

“In the Autumn leaves fall and apparently contaminate soil.  It happens in the Italian woods where remediation is required by law for heavy hydrocarbon concentration greater than 50 milligrams per kilo.  It was revealed by a study conducted by scientists at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and The Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes (CNR) in collaboration with the Società estense servizi ambientali, a specialized company based in Padua.  The researchers have identified natural hydrocarbons in woods and farmlands that had been fertilized with artificial fertilizer, compost or digestate in the past ten years. Soil samples showed high levels of hydrocarbons, especially for samples taken in the woods with concentrations that reached up to four times the legal limit.”

There’s more here.

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Foraging in February

The Woodland Trust website has an article on Foraging in February now that winter’s on the way out and the warmer weather is emerging.  The Trust says:

“It may feel like we’re still in the grips of winter, but shoots are starting to appear.  And they’re growing quickly.  Here are some early spring plants and winter fungi to look out for.  Always take a good field guide with you – and please follow our sustainable foraging guidelines.”


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News from the Mersey

Working with the Woodland Trust, who are leading on delivery targeted at some of the most deprived areas of the country, England’s Community Forests are helping to engage schools in their areas.  
Over the next four years, The Mersey Forest and other organisations are planting 164,000 trees in a programme to deliver its long term plans.  It is working with primary schools and communities throughout The Mersey Forest, promoting the opportunity to plant a woodland, orchard or individual trees and hedges. The children involved will learn about trees through engaging outdoor learning linked to the national curriculum.  The Mersey Forest team says
“By working with primary schools we’re able to encourage more outdoor learning in schools, nurture children’s connection with nature and increase knowledge and understanding of our trees and woodlands. These planting days provide a connection to nature experience to children, whilst providing real-life context to teach about the health benefits of being in a natural setting and environmental matters such as climate change. We use this experience, with support from the teachers involved, to ensure that the tree planting project is part of a wider, enjoyable, learning experience that supports the new national curriculum and encourages outdoor learning.”


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The latest Wood Wise

The Woodland Trust’s latest in-house journal, Wood Wise, has a focus on how we can educate and inspire the environmental guardians and conservationists of the future.  The Truste says:

“Many educators understand the importance of connecting young people with nature and the additional value outdoor learning can bring. In this issue teachers and practitioners share their approaches to integrating nature with education.”

The contents are:

  • Learning and development through forest school
  • Educating primary schools through Teaching Trees
  • Bringing outdoor learning to life
  • Join the green school revolution
  • Restoration of ancient woodland as an education resource
  • Woodland as a restorative space

You can download it here.

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Telling a tree from its bark

Discover Wildlife has a feature on the identification of 12 British trees from their bark.

These are attractive and clear drawings, but it’s a puzzle as to why some very common species are not represented; for example, larch, sweet chestnut, sycamore, field maple, and rowan.


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Latest Charity News

Please click the link below to access our latest e-newsletter.



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Royal Forestry Society Excellence Awards

The Royal Forestry Society Excellence Awards 2018 are looking for  the very best in projects run by schools, colleges, universities, and other recognised education and training providers across the West and South West of England – from Cheshire to Cornwall.

Rachel Thomas the RFS Excellence in Forestry (EiF) Co-ordinator says:

“The RFS Excellence in Forestry Award is a great opportunity to showcase to the forestry sector, and to a wider world, and the many excellent  education and learning projects  are vital for ensuring a thriving future for forest management.” 

The awards will be presented at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt on 13 July 2018.  The closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday 6 March 2018.

More details are available here, and you can find case studies based on previous winners here.

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