Here is an overview of a Thrive project we ran with pupils from St. Andrews High School and CREW – a harm reduction and outreach charity. It gives a flavour of how we help connect young people to nature, others and themselves:
The programme took place at Muiravonside country park, involving a group of S3 and S4 pupils who faced substantial issues in their lives and who didn’t engage meaningfully with the school.
Each session involved a conservation task, such as tree-felling, in the morning with students trained and trusted with the use of sharp and heavy tools. Through each task the students were given an understanding of the value of these tasks for wildlife and the environment.
The conservation task was followed by a peer-led session around a campfire focussing on risk taking behaviours and coping strategies. These sessions provided a safe space to share and support individuals around personal experiences such as substance abuse and issues at home or school.
In the afternoon, the group focussed on nature skills such as fire lighting, food foraging and crafts as well as enjoying time alone in nature for mindfulness.
Each of the young people completed wellbeing self-assessment forms, with all of them recording significant improvements over the duration of the project. One pupil with truanting issues in school, but a 100% attendance record on the project said:
“It gave me more confidence and my ability to work as a team increased…I loved being outside. It’s better than school for me – I’m not claustrophobic but outside is so free”