A pilot project with Furness College and UCLAN, aiming to introduce young people to Rusland's woodlands.
The six students partaking in this pilot project had the opportunity to learn bushcraft skills alongside the excellent Gareth and Ro Thomas (Woodmatters) as well as experiencing the excitement of a charcoal burn with Darryl Kelbrick of the Natural Charcoal Company. Through the creative experiences of greenwood carving, learning basic foraging and tracking and through meeting together round the fire, the students learnt about Rusland's ancient yet vulnerable woodlands. They learned about coppicing and its place in sustainable woodland management, about the challenges and threats faced through overgrazing by deer, competition from invasive species and climate change. Students then applied their newfound skills and confidence in the woodlands to make use of a tool developed by Plantlife known as Rapid Woodland Assessment process. By partaking in this venture, students learnt about a range of professions they may not have previously been aware of, broadened their own CV and hopefully began a lifetime of appreciation for places like Rusland’s horizons.
In addition, this venture is being used as a research case study by the University of Central Lancashire. Researchers there are using the creative and collaborative process of film making with the young people as they experience the woods, to help empower and enable often not-heard young people's views on landscape and how best to care for it.
After the success or this pilot project - see the results on the video on our landing page - we hope that this project will lead onto further collaboration with larger groups of students and for longer in the future.