Welcoming EMAS to a nature-based activity day

, 08 June 2024
Welcoming EMAS to a nature-based activity day
EMAS at Woods Mill © Roz Bassford

It was a great pleasure for the Trust to welcome around 40 members of staff from the Brighton-based Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) to Woods Mill in June for a wellbeing day in nature as well as the opportunity to take part in and learn a bit about Forest School and nature-based activities. 

EMAS offer a brilliant support service for early years and school age children and families with English as an Additional Language needs. The children they work with might include refugees, and families who have undergone extremely stressful experiences. So it was a pleasure to offer their amazing staff team the opportunity to step out from their normal roles, relax in the woods learn a little about how they might helpfully work with their young people out in nature and take time to play a little.


The day was run by Wilder Learning Manager Renzo Spano, supported by Wilder Learning Officer Katie Parker as well as volunteer Alison Mayo.

After some introductory activities, we all headed into the woods where Renzo and team created a fire circle, with the group being shown how to create fire using a 'dragon's sneeze' fire tool. We then all took a 'listening jewel' and closed our eyes to really listen for a few minutes to the sounds around us. All kinds of birdsong, the rustling of wind in the trees, some road noises too. It showed us how rarely we really stop and properly listen. 

The team then offered the group a wide variety of nature-based activities to choose from - from walking along, looking up at the tree canopy using a mirror under the eyes, to collecting different coloured bits of woodland treasure, to collecting woodland items to create a memory card of the day, to creating a treasure stick, to creating a cloth picture using a hammer using the Japanese Hape Zome technique, or creating a cosy shelter in the woods for one of many soft toy animals.

The group then gathered back together to discuss what they'd found, learnt and experienced.

Here is some feedback from the group on how they found the day:  

"The whole team left feeling nourished and relaxed after a day with you and your lovely leadership style, interactions and host of activities and experiences were just right. The lessons around risk and autonomy in children’s learning were very important to reinforce, as was the need for the team to get in touch with their inner child and to be playful in the natural world."

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Comments

  • NADA HUSSEIN GAMAAN:

    It was one of the most amazing days that I had. Being with my colleagues made it even better . I got totally disconnected from the outside bitter world and sensed peace. I felt unified with nature. Thanks for Renzo and the rest of the team for giving us this unique experience .

    13 Jun 2024 09:06:00

  • Sussex Wildlife Trust:

    Thank you so much. It was a pleasure to welcome you all. 

  • Elisabeth Williamson:

    Thank you to Renzo and Katie and SWT for an uplifting and inspiring day in wonderful ancient woodland! It reminded us all of how free-ing and exciting learning really is. It was great to feel our whole team spirit revived and renewed and everybody smiling and laughing. It was so good, I went back again yesterday and enjoyed it all over again! :)

    17 Jun 2024 09:50:00

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