The Word from the Woods 
Winter 2016
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Dear <<First Name>>, welcome to


The 2016 FSA Annual General Meeting
FSA members met on Saturday 12th November at Camley Street Natural Park for the 2016 AGM. Being a stand alone event meant fewer than usual members in attendance.

Jon Cree, our outgoing chair, presented the annual report. As ever, it was surprising to see how much has been done over the year. Jon presented plans for 2017, particularly with the launch of the new memberships for schools, organisations and Trainers.

The financial statement at the end of the report showed a modest surplus at the end of August 2016. This is being invested back into the organisation to support the set up of the new membership types through the appointment of development officer Lisa Pearce.

The board responded to questions from the floor. Proxy questions had been invited from FSA members but none had been submitted. This may be because the board were unable to get the annual report out to members before the AGM, as we would have wished (there was a delay in the board receiving the draft accounts prior to the AGM).

However, directors invite members to submit any question in writing so that they can respond. These can be sent to

Members in attendance at the AGM, who had not already voted, had the opportunity to do so before the results of the election were calculated and reported.

67 eligible members voted in the election for new directors. All candidates received greater than 50% of the vote and were duly election on to the board.
  • Kathryn Barton 61 votes (91%)
  • Jon Cree 61 votes (91%)
  • Geoff Mason 53 votes (79%)
  • Jo Phillips 58 votes (87%)
 Lily Horseman conducted a useful exercise to explore member perceptions about the values that they associate with Forest School and the FSA. This will feed into future work conducted by the board on developing our 'mission' as an organisation.

The minutes from the AGM will be added to the WIKI when they are available.
Download the full annual report (PDF)

Gareth Davies
Acting CEO

Welcome to Lisa 

We are delighted to welcome Lisa Pearce to the role of FSA Development Officer. We will leave it up to Lisa to introduce herself ...

'Having lived and played in the New Forest since a young child, I have always loved and felt a connection with the natural world. The opportunity to work as Development Officer for the FSA follows a deep-rooted desire to encourage children and adults to understand the value of and to reconnect with nature. 

I have worked for a range of environmental agencies including Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency on community engagement projects, environmental planning, communications and policy development. I have also worked for local government and as a volunteer on a community radio station producing a show called ‘Nature’s Voice’ to engage the public and schools with environmental issues on their doorstep. 

In my Development Officer role, my initial task will be to develop and market an exciting new membership model. This will cover a range of new membership types including one for schools and organisations. The schemes provide several great benefits for members and will also help to encourage ‘quality’ training and delivery of the Forest School ethos.'

Conference Roundup

The next Forest Education Network conference will be held on 23rd  March 2017 at FSC Bishops Wood Centre in Worcestershire | more....
The Buckinghamshire Forest School Conference is being held at Shortenhills Centre on March 18th where Patron Tim Gill and Director Jon Cree will be keynote speakers | more....  

Tree Packs from The Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust still has its tree packs available for groups and schools, and its Green Trees Schools Award is gaining more momentum with schools. It is worth looking at how this may compliment FS provision in your area.

Read more at ... and ...   

Scouts and Guides at lower risk of mental illness in later life

Joining the Scouts or Guides in childhood appears to help lower the risk of mental illness in later life, a study suggests.

Children who participate in the organisations – which aim to develop qualities such as self-reliance, resolve and a desire for self-learning – are likely to go on to have better mental health in middle age, the findings show.

The groups’ activities, which frequently involve being outdoors, also seem to remove the higher likelihood of mental illness in people from poorer backgrounds.

The findings were drawn from the National Child Development Study, a lifelong study of almost 10,000 people from across the UK who were born in November 1958.

Researchers say their findings suggest programmes that help children develop skills such as self-reliance and teamwork, and encourage being active outdoors, may have lifelong benefits.

Attending the Guides or Scouts may help build resilience against common stresses in life, or it may increase a person’s chances of achieving more in life, so they are less likely to experience such stresses, researchers suggest.

The study, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

FSA Groups News

Say hello to three brand new FSA Afilliated Groups, Shropshire, Herefordshire & hot off the press, FSA Worcestershire have just gained accreditation.

 At the FSA conference last year there were only 3 people standing in the allotted area on a map of England and Wales to represent Shropshire. But we are sure there are more of you!
Please join the online group if you live and/or work in Shropshire and want to swap ideas and experiences.

FSA Hereford Chair Sam Goddard writes: We are a local cluster group of Forest School practitioners working together to create a friendly and informal community of interested people in Herefordshire. All those interested in promoting and sharing Forest School practice in Herefordshire are welcome to attend meetings.

The current group has evolved from the Forest Education Initiative (FEI) Cluster Group in Herefordshire.  We run our own website and facebook group which we hope will help us to achieve our agreed aims of raising awareness of the benefits of Forest School in Herefordshire whilst providing opportunities for practitioners to share ideas and practice, engage in networking and offer moral support. For more group details use the links below:
Chair: Sam Goddard

We should have more news on the Worcester Group in the next bulletin.

Meanwhile at FSA Norfolk you can find a brand new FSAN Newsletter on their website. Visit FSAN Norfolk for details about events / training & case studies.

FSA Local Groups are the perfect way to keep in touch with all things Forest School related in your area. There may be a local group to join near you.  If there isn`t, please get in touch and we can guide you through the process of setting one up in your region.

Circle of Life CPD News
Forest School Association Director Jon Cree will be running 2 CPD events for Circle of Life Rediscovery in 2017.

Storymaking and Telling in the Natural World
31st January 2017

This creative workshop will explore the relationship between stories, storytelling and the natural world around us, with its application to school and community groups. The day caters for anyone involved in working with groups (adults or children) in an educational setting.

Making Natural Playstructures
27th February 2017

This course is for educators wishing to be a little more adventurous with creative play structures at their sites, building them out of wood and rope and combining these with the natural features. We will be sharing techniques and know-how on building safe but slightly risky  structures with children that can enhance creativity and physical play while keeping within the health and safety guidelines for safe construction and use of natural structures.

Click for more information or to book either of these courses


Forest School on Twitter


Latest FSA Events from the Local Groups

Erica Bailey from Chiltern Forest School has asked us to let you all know about a conference they are putting together on 18th March 2017. Tim Gill and Jon Cree will be key note speakers and there are various workshops available. Their early bird booking discount has just been extended until the end of November.

More information is on their website and a flyer can be downloaded from the "files" section on the FSA Norfolk page.

View more events at

Transforming Outdoor Learning
The natural connections demonstration project has added their weight to two government departments, Natural England and DEFRA, to continue the push for more outdoor learning.

The Forest School Association have been invited to the DEFRA workshop in December to help inform the public engagement framework for government’s 25 year environment plan.

Even the DfE are seriously considering the place of outdoor learning in government education policy following the consultation the FSA submitted to, on the 'purpose of education' earlier this year.  There definitely is a momentum building for more entitlement to outdoor learning keep banging the FS drum wherever you can!

Suggested reading:

Eroica Festival 2017 

If Forest School and classic bycicles are your thing, you might have heard of the Eroica Festival. Now in its third year, Eroica Britannia was one of the most talked about events in the cycling and festival calenders this year. Over 45,000 folk travelled from all four corners of the globe to join this 3-day family adventure of music, glorious vintage, shopping, food, drink, camping and cycling.

2017 has a Forest and Learning theme so Erioca organisers are looking for some expert guidance from FSA Members on running #forestschool themed events. If you are keen to get involved then contact Zoe on the details below:

Zoe Ettershank (
Event Designer & Producer - Twenty Two Events

Outdoor Book Review

We have just taken delivery of Sara Knight's new book 'Forest School in Practice'.

If anyone would like to review a copy of the book for our next bulletin, send your name and postal address to and we will be in touch.

Forest School in Practice

By: Sara Knight
Paperback: 204 pages

Publisher: Sage
Language: English

ISBN: 1473948924

Forest School Jobs

Little Forest Folk are an exciting and forward thinking company offering a new type of childcare for families in London. They care for and educate children aged from 2 to 5, following the core Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, incorporating learning in an outdoor environment where free play, fresh air, exposure to the natural world and physical activity are an integral part of learning.

They are currently recruiting a Forest Nursery Educator in SW London. Salary negotiable, deadline 30/1/2017.

For the latest Forest School Jobs see or follow on Twitter | Facebook


A Useful Tool to Evaluate Outdoor Learning
Cardiff University have just made available a toolkit for evaluating outdoor learning – a useful resource covering subjects from how to work with film through to participant evaluation and spatial and place analysis.  It provides some tried and tested frameworks for any FS practitioner who may want to take their own observations and evaluations of their programmes further | more ...


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