Green Shoots Blog: 2012-2013
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You can read more about the Green Shoots programme
on the About Green Shoots page.
This News page gives you a flavour for what we've been doing recently, and you
can also read news from 2006, 2007
, 2008, 2009,
2010 and 2011.
in a Nutshell
2012 was a year of consolidation, goodbyes
and new ventures. Over a year has now passed since The Green Team moved to Tynecastle
HS, and although there was no transition programme this year, more pupils from
Tynie than ever before engaged with a variety of Green Shoots programmes, including
Tynecastles very first Forest School.
not to say past connections with other partner organisations or new opportunities
across the city were not also explored. The Firrhill Forest School went out for
a record breaking 7th time! The key person responsible for the success of this
programme over the years is Paul Chambers, Senior Guidance Teacher and Acting
Deputy Head at Firrhill.
Paul has been a real champion
and ally of Forest School and after many years at Firrhill is now moving onto
pastures new as Deputy Head at the Royal High School. Everyone at The Green Team
is hugely grateful for his support, and would like to wish him well with for the
future. We look forward to working with him again in the future.
2012 Referral Programme saw the widest catchment of schools ever engaging with
Green Shoots, with new schools such as Leith Academy, the Royal High and Drummond
Community High School all getting on board.By the end of the year some 38 pupils
participated in 43 sessions, spread across 2 x Forest Schools, 2 x Referral Programmes
and the ever popular Residential Group. 29 pupils completed their John Muir Award,
with a further 13 other young people using their involvement to work towards their
Duke of Edinburgh Award. Funders and ThanksMany thanks once again go to our funders;
The Robertson Trust, Henry Smith Charity and Garfield Western Foundation. We are
also very excited that additional recent funding from The Big Fund has enabled
us to take on Emily Sanderson as a Youth Development Project Worker.
comes with a great deal of skill and experience from working with the Rock Trust
and will be looking to specifically engage groups from single schools interested
in a programme of outdoor learning. Emily will also be involved in supporting
young people onto our weekend programmes.
again must go to all our partner organisations who supported us throughout the
year; East Lothian Ranger Service, Midlothian Ranger Service, The City of Edinburgh
Natural Heritage Service, Hopetoun House Trust, Water of Leith Trust, National
Trust for Scotland, Girls Brigade, Blinkbonny Woods and the Scottish Seabird Centre.
thanks go to the schools and guidance teams who referred and supported pupils
throughout the year.
Finally, the Green Team prides
itself on its volunteer development and Green Shoots was certainly grateful of
the 28 sessions that our amazing volunteers and sessional workers contributed
to. Thanks to; Hannah, Andy, Jeff, Ian, Dan, Iain, Emily and Bob.
to another jam packed year in 2013!
S3 REFERRAL PROGRAMME (March
The beginning of the year saw a continuation
of the Referral Programme, with a second selection of young people from 4 different
schools form a group to undertake a variety of conservation tasks, including tree
thinning, removing invasive species and pathwork.
variety of local green spaces were explored, including Springfield Mill, Colinton
Dells, Vogrie Country Park and several National Trust for Scotland properties,
namely The Pineapple and Dollar Glen.
The 6 week programme not only gave
pupils the opportunity learn in a practical manner, but also enabled them to engage
working in a safe, supportive environment where any issues they encountered at
school such as bullying were left behind.
As a consequence
of the high staff to pupil ratio and supportive nature
of the group, all group
members showed great progress in their personal confidence, resilience and ability
to take responsibility for themselves.
The final presentation
was well attended and feedback from schools has been positive, with one teacher
commenting that one of her pupils;
been subjected to a lot of dreadful bullying and is scared to come to school.
The only bright thing in his life at the moment is your work
of the group members was pleased that; I feel more confident and speak to
people in school more.
Another pupil shared his
thoughts during a group review; I prefer it out here to the city. It makes
me feel calm and less angry.
FOREST SCHOOL, Firrhill HS (Feb
The long standing relationship between the Green
Team, Firrhill HS and the Pentland Hills Regional Park continued with the successful
delivery of the 7th Forest School.
9 pupils were identified
by the Guidance Team as suitable participants for the programme, which aimed to
facilitate personal development, team work skills, and foster a positive attitude
and connection between the pupils and their local environment.
Forest School was once again based at Bonaly Country Park, where the group contributed
to the ongoing work of the Pentland Hills Ranger Service.
programme was also supported by the National Trust for Scotland. Community Partnerships
Development Coordinator, Robert May was keen to further develop his own understanding
and knowledge of Forest Schools and was invaluable in helping to co-deliver the
Tasks included repairing a bridge, levelling
steps, clearing cross drains, thinning trees, mulching a hedgerow and contributing
to the moorland management plan by cutting back gorse and monitoring juniper.
group also engaged in a variety of environmental activities, basic bush-craft
and outdoor living skills designed to strengthen each young persons relationship
with the outdoors. A first class shelter was designed and built by the group,
carving and axing skills learnt and applied to tasks, and alternative forms of
fire lighting experimented with, from Neolithic methods to modern day magnesium
On several occasions the group also explored
the wider boundaries of the Regional Park, focusing on map work skills and applying
them to an orienteering course and several hikes. The group also learnt about
the wider land management of the Regional Park by visiting a local farm and conducting
an interview with one of the Pentland Rangers.
of the programme culminated with a search and rescue scenario where the group
was challenged to work together to locate a casualty and administer appropriate
first aid treatment. The group rose to the challenge, applying all newly acquired
skills appropriately to successfully complete the task.
programme finished up with a celebration back at Firrhill HS which parents, teachers
and friends were invited to. Pupils from past Forest Schools and prospective future
group members also attended, underpinning the importance, value and legacy of
the Firrhill Forest School.
Acting Deputy Head Paul
Chambers commented that due to participation in Forest Schools,
are engaged and involved, rather than marginalised and excluded
for pupils involved with the Green Team have reduced dramatically.
PROGRAMME (June September)
The Advanced Programme
began in June and involved 8 pupils identified by staff as those who had made
sound progress in the Forest School or Referral programme earlier in the year,
and who had demonstrated an enthusiasm and aptitude for outdoor learning.
pupil referred had demonstrated a significant improvement in their personal and
social development during their previous involvement and expressed a particular
interest in accessing further opportunities to work and learn in the outdoors.
6 schools being represented across the city, the programme had the largest geographical
spread of any past Green Shoots provision.
was designed to increase the level of challenge faced by participants, whether
it was in the complexity of a conservation task, length of a hike, or level of
responsibility and personal organisation required on project.
programme culminated in two residentials, one based indoors to lay the foundations
of living and working together, and one under canvas, providing participants with
the opportunity to apply all the skills they have learnt on their Green Shoots
The group were involved in a variety of more
complex and challenging conservation tasks, including repairing path edging, painting
fencing, creating a rockery and hibernacula, thinning trees and improving drainage
The first residential was a great success,
with hunting for creatures of the deep during a pond dipping session, and cooking
a giant feast of home-made burgers and calzone pizzas over an open fire proving
to be highlights of the trip.
After a break for the
summer the group reconnected with a couple of local sessions, and undertook the
challenging task of removing remnant fencing in preparation for further hedgerow
planting. The group planned out the all important food menu for the second residential
by participating in a rather unorthodox Ready, Steady, Cook challenge
and worked off their meal with an ascent of Arthurs Seat.
residential saw the group rise to the challenge of camping in remote woodland
in East Lothian. There were some alarmed faces after being introduced to the composting
toilet, but the group adapted quickly to their new home and applied all the skills
learnt over the summer into 3 days of outdoor living.
variety of conservation work was undertaken, including working in partnership
with the Scottish Seabird Centre to remove tree mallow on Craigleith Island to
promote the puffin population, and fence building to contribute to the ongoing
meadow restoration work at Blinkbonny Community Woodland.
and Design skills were applied to the task of building bird boxes, and old Neolithic
techniques for making tinder, lighting fire and creating traditional wooden spoons
were also explored. The group cooked all their meals on open fire and at night
undertook a track and trails hike with the East Lothian Ranger Service,
culminating in bat watch at the local graveyard.
On the final day the group
were challenged to design, build and sail a home-made raft. Despite its dubious
name Titanic, the raft and group were more successful than its namesake.
last review was a poignant one, significantly so when one individual who had frequently
complained about missing his computer games, shared his feelings by saying;
like it here. Its better than my bit. (Edinburgh) Its quieter, I dont
feel so stressed out and angry.
The end of programme presentation was
well attended by support staff, parents and teachers, where the group had the
opportunity to share some of their skills by leading a mini conservation task
and teach some carving and fire lighting skills to their families.
SCHOOL, Tynecastle HS (Sept - Dec)
The final programme
of the year was also a first; the first Forest School working with pupils from
Tynecastle High School.
The programme was integrated
as part of an alternative curriculum engaging nine S3 pupils in a year-long John
Muir Award. Before participating in the Forest School the group undertook a variety
of challenges in and around the school grounds, including planning and planting
a wildlife garden and completing maintenance tasks at a nearby cemetery.
per previous Forest Schools the programme was based in Bonaly Country Park in
the Pentland Hills and saw the group work in partnership with the Ranger Service
(now the Natural Heritage Service) to complete a variety of ongoing tasks, such
as contributing to the gorse management plan, clearing out the cross drains on
upland paths and contributing to the work at the wildlife garden.
bushcraft and forest skills in knotwork, firelighting, shelter building, mapwork,
carving, axing and outdoor cooking were also taught. The group also explored some
of the more remote locations of the Pentlands on several hikes and investigated
the role of the Ranger Service by conducting an interview.
The group showed
great progress in areas of personal organisation, resilience, cooperation, working
within boundaries and listening skills. Some of the reflections of the pupils
at the final presentation are included below;
Before the programme I
didnt really know anyone and felt left out, but now I feel really included
and liked being able to help others.
I feel more confident now
than before and able to tell people how I feel.
I learnt skills
in tracking, using axes and leadership. I feel more able to stick up for myself.
S1 REFERRAL PROGRAMME (October Dec)
autumn saw the 2012-2013 Referral Programme kick off once again.
programme alternates yearly between S3 and S1 pupils in order to provide the opportunity
for long term work with young people at two identified key stages of High School;
S1 being the challenging adjustment of making the transition from Primary to Secondary,
and S3 being a difficult and pressurised time for many pupils who are close to
school leaving age.
Participants had a wide variety
of needs and greatly benefited from the high staff to pupil ratio.
all Referral Programmes a variety of conservation work, basic bushcraft skills
and outdoor play was used as the vehicle for learning, promoting personal resilience
and inter-personal skills. Each session took place in a different location to
expose pupils to a variety of locally accessible environments and encouraged a
connection with the outdoors.
The group participated in a variety of conservation
tasks, including clearing invasive species, tree thinning, fence removal, path
and drainage work, woodland management and contributing to the protected Green
Hairstreak Butterfly Biodiversity Action Plan.
some extremely wet and cold weather, the group attended regularly and engaged
in a positive manner. Lets hope next years Referral Programme sees
a bit more sunshine!
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