The Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt has announced a partnership with Woodland Adventurers, a leading provider of outdoor learning, to run exciting activities connecting children to nature.
This is the first time that early years learning programmes, designed for children under the age of five, have been available at Westonbirt.
Woodland Adventurers will be working in partnership with the arboretum’s in-house learning team who already run family events and school activities as part of the Forestry Commission learning strategy.
The early year’s sessions will be full of storytelling, singing, discovery and adventure in the magical environment of the arboretum. From mini beast hunts, to outdoor sing song and crazy leaf bugs, there is a huge range of fun outdoor activities on offer. The programme will be open to schools and groups aged five and under and has been specifically designed to help the young visitors engage with and learn about nature through hands-on activities.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple Collection, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are over 350,000 a year, with a membership of over 28,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt
Chris Harvey, joint owner at Woodland Adventurers said: “Woodland Adventurers is delighted to be partnering with Westonbirt, The National Arboretum to provide inspirational learning experiences that connect young children with nature and the outdoors. Our sessions bring the early year’s foundation stage to life through nature based activities which support the Forestry Commission’s learning strategy. Using stories such as ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and ‘The Very Busy Spider’; the children can join us on adventures through the arboretum where learning is exciting and fun.”
Ben Oliver, Forestry Commission learning and participation manager at Westonbirt commented: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Woodland Adventurers to deliver early years learning. This is a great opportunity to extend learning programmes to our youngest visitors, inspiring the next generation to the beauty of trees and nature. We are impressed by Woodland Adventurer’s range of activities and their passion to engage children with nature and the outdoors through fun hands on activities; they are the perfect team to deliver our preschool programmes on-site.”
Husband and wife team Debbie and Chris who run Woodland Adventurers, purchased woodland of their own to give their children the freedom to enjoy the outdoors, before expanding it to provide for a wider market of schools and groups. They now run woodland birthday parties, pre-school visits and group activity days to help children discover nature.
The early years programme at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, will start from September 2014
You can find out more information by visiting www.woodlandadventurers.org/westonbirt-the-national-arboretum.html