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John Muir 2017

John Muir was a very famous conservationist who has inspired thousands of people to take a more active interest in their local environments and natural areas. Having undertaken some initial research, we instinctively wanted to find out more about how we could contribute to the conservation of our own school grounds and forest areas.

We began by creating some posters that explained who John Muir was, and the work he took part in. We were able to show our creativity through our designs and combined interesting facts about John Muir with some inspiring pictures of the natural world. Next, we explored our school’s natural grounds and forest areas by having a bug hunt. We used different methods to catch bugs; for example, we held a sheet under the trees and then gently shook some of the branches. We were then able to identify a number of bugs and insects which had fallen onto the sheet by looking at our identification charts. We also looked under logs and undergrowth to see if we could see other examples of insects and bugs. We found a lot of woodlice, spiders and ants!!

We then started designing our conversation projects to be used in our Forest School. We were working in small groups so we needed quite a bit of discussion before agreeing on a project to choose. There were a number of things that we needed to consider, such as; what animals lived in our forest that needed protecting, what predators exist that need to be deterred, how would we stop the children and adults who use the Forest from damaging or interfering with our work, what resources would we need and many more!  We spent a lot of time reflecting on our designs as we needed to adapt to the situations and environment around us, many of our groups needed to rethink their designs based on the land not being completely level!

In the next session we continued with our projects. We had to work very well as a team to make sure our projects were completed to a high standard and they would be effective in their purpose. Many groups focussed on camouflaging their projects from predators and it was very difficult to spot them (especially the bee hive that is underground!). Some of us, worked in the sensory garden, regenerating and improving the natural spaces there. We learnt new skills such as cutting down and trimming back shrubbery, how to weed and tidy the flower beds and how to hollow out Elder to use as a natural home for bugs. We finished off our projects, by writing a report about our experiences.

We have loved every moment of the John Muir work, it has made us appreciate our local areas more carefully and has inspired some of us to do more volunteering work in the environment and surrounding areas closer to our homes. We look forward to using this knowledge later in our lives.

Next time you are up in the forest, spend some time looking for our habitats – but please do not touch them!

Thank you to the staff and volunteers for your time, resources and support. And thank you Mrs Waller for inspiring us to take a more active role in looking after our environment!