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New course takes students into the woods

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
New course takes students into the woods

A FOREST and Outdoor Learning Awards course is to start in Dumfries next month.

The introductory course will be run by the Wildlife and Conservation Management (WCM) team at SRUC’s Barony campus in May, followed by the full practitioner course in the new academic year.

It will teach people about the forest environment and its links to conservation and help them gain a basic understanding of working with it in sustainable ways.

They will also learn a range of woodland-based practical skills and how to support others in participating imaginatively in the forest environment.

Forest School was originally developed as a child-led learning experience, but it can also help the mental wellbeing and development of children, teenagers and adults by building confidence and self-esteem through learner-inspired experiences in a woodland environment.

SRUC Barony will be the first campus to deliver the course which will provide a valuable opportunity for existing SRUC students and external candidates to train to become forest school and outdoor learning practitioners.

WCM lecturer and forest school trainer Lucy Thornton said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us.

“Qualifications in Forest School are highly respected in WCM industry areas such as ranger services and community project management, so this will be a great opportunity for our students.

“We will also be marketing these courses externally for school teachers and freelancers to upskill and take the Forest School ethos back to their settings.”

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