Environmental Education

With staff from a broad range of backgrounds, such as Countryside Rangers, Green Gym Coordinator, Branching Out (woodland mental health project) Programme Manager and a Wildlife Guide, Caledonian Conservation is a fantastic choice to help with your environmental education projects.

The sorts of activities we offer depend upon the group, the site, the season and the proposed outcomes of the project. Activities could include wildlife surveys, conservation tasks, campfires and cooking, bushcraft, environmental art and crafts, outdoor games, and heath walks. We can help you apply for grants to run your projects, come up with project proposals, lead activity sessions or advise you on how to run your own projects (e.g. helping with training, risk assessments or activity ideas).

We offer the following services:

Therapeutic outdoor projects

Everyone can benefit from taking part in nature projects, but for some people access to the natural world can have extra therapeutic benefits. Access to green space has been shown to have wide-ranging benefits, including improvements to confidence and self-esteem, communication skills and physical activity levels. There is also evidence that spending time in greenspace can have a restorative effect on mental wellbeing. Our staff have a great deal of experience providing therapeutic projects to groups as wide-ranging as mental health services, learning disability groups, black and minority ethnic groups, children with special educational needs, and Woman’s Aid groups. We can provide individual sessions or longer-term projects.

Branching Out

Branching Out is a Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) project which provides conservation and greenspace on referral for mental health services. Our Director of Education, Kirsty Cathrine, used to be the Programme Manager for this project, and therefore has worked with a huge range of forensic, inpatient, outpatient and community mental health services. She also used to deliver the Branching Out training courses. We can provide staff to lead and assist with new Branching Out groups, and assist with new projects (e.g. help with presentations, referrals, staff training etc). Recent projects have included leading a Branching Out group with the Compass Centre refugee and asylum seekers mental health service at Rouken Glen Country Park, and assisting with a project at Plean Country Park with Forth Valley College.

Forest School and Forest Kindergarten

Forest School is an inspirational process which offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.

Forest Kindergarten is a similar approach, but specifically aimed at pre-school children. We can provide level three trained Forest School Practitioners to plan and lead, or assist with, Forest School/Kindergarten projects. People of any age and ability can benefit from regular learning opportunities in nature.

John Muir Award

As a registered John Muir Award provider, we are always happy to help groups who want to work towards any level of their John Muir Award. Any of our long-term projects (e.g. Forest School or Branching Out) can be adapted to fit in with the requirements of the John Muir Award scheme. We can also help you come up with a proposal for the award.

Bespoke Projects

We can work with any groups or individuals to come up with your own project ideas. This can range from a one-off event (e.g. a bird guided walk or a den-building event) to long-term projects. We are happy to work with people from any age, background or interest. Previous projects have included providing workshops at the Glasgow Council Biodiversity Action Day, teaching adult volunteers and school children about minibeasts at Urban Roots, and a series of summer nature workshops for Doune Community Woodland Group. We can also help produce interpretive materials and leaflets for projects, and have previously provided photographs for interpretation panels. We can also provide high-quality photographs of projects run, as part of our services, if required.

Talks, Presentations and Lectures

We regularly give talks and presentations to schools, universities, clubs and special interest groups. These have ranged from species specific talks to general talks about Scottish Conservation or working with wildlife. Depending upon the topic and proposed audience we may be able to give these for free or at a low cost rate. In addition, we are able to provide input into more formal education courses as guest lecturer. For example, Director Chris Cathrine was recently guest lecturer for much of the Animal Diversity course at the University of the West of Scotland. We have also been involved in a wide range of media productions, not least the recent 16 Legs film about spiders starring Stephen Fry and Neil Gaiman