From understanding comes strength


Week 3:

This week pupils were joined by Mrs Reid from our Art Department who talked to pupils about the nature artist Andy Goldworthy. They had a chance to make their own natural art. At last the knives were out! Pupils were taught how to use a knife safely and the rules applied to using them. They all enjoyed whittling some sticks to practise their new skills. With supervision the pupils made the large camp fire themselves and also used the Kelly Kettles to make hot drinks for the group. They are all becoming more confident at being responsible for different duties.

Andy Goldsworthy Natural Art:

Pupils looked at a variety of photographs of the artwork made by Andy Goldsworthy. They then worked in small groups to make their own pieces of natural art using simple shapes and only materials they could find in the woods. They also worked on making a logo for our new Outdoor Learning section on the school website. The winning design was made by Jordan and James and was chosen by Mrs Reid.

Jordan and James’ Winning Design

Friday 18th September

The group enjoyed a full and busy day in the woods on Friday. We were joined by outdoor living specialist Willow Lohr who worked with the pupils to make ‘Indiana Jones’ style torches using a few simple materials:

Willow, towels or sheets, copper wire, melted candle wax. They are extremely effective and will be on sale for Hogmany at the Farmers Market in November.

Pupils also turned their hand to making natural lip balms using just bees wax, almond oil and essence. This was a team effort and they worked in a production line, all with specific jobs to do. Again, these will be sold for Christmas gifts.

On the menu today was minestrone soup made in our dutch oven with crusty tiger bread. It was a great success and not a drop was left. We have some budding cooks in this group so meal times are a big feature of the day.

We finished off the day with some needle felting. It was a very therapeutic job and was perhaps the quietest the pupils had been all day! We will be turning our creations into small pouches in a few weeks.

Week 6 - 25th September

We had another busy day in the forest with 2 visitors. Doug Gooday, a ranger with Aberdeenshire Council joined us and helped us make Nordic gnomes using Scandinavian knives. We learned different types of knife holds and ways to cut effectively.

We also had a visit from Mr Bruce from our Music department who worked with the pupils to make rhythms using natural materials. The group selected their own materials and investigated different ways of making sounds with them before joining together as a group to make a short piece of music. The pupils really enjoyed this experience and were able to use musical language and work together as a natural orchestra.

We cooked food parcels again as this was a favourite from another week and had chicken, noodles, stir fry vegetables and a variety of sauces to chose from.

Week 7 - Friday 2nd October

Pupils were hard at work this week learning to use new tools to create some more Christmas crafts which will be on sale at our enterprise stall in November. We learned how to make twine by using three pieces of raffia which was twisted together to make a strong thin rope. This technique can be used with many different materials and is a good survival technique as it can be used for tying shelters or making lashing.

Pupils made tree decorations by cutting cookies of wood using bow saws. It required good partner work and a bit of muscle! The cookies were sanded using coarse sandpaper until they were smooth. They then had a hole put in the top using a hand drill. Pupils then used a pyrography wood burning pen to burn in a Christmas image. This required a very steady hand and a good deal of patience but the end results were fantastic.

Burgers were on the menu for lunch and expertly cooked by Jordan and Dean. They also made a sponge batter which was used to put into hollowed out oranges. We added chocolate chips and covered the orange in the fire before cooking them in the open fire. The pupils are becoming experts at collecting the right kinds of firewood and lighting the Kelly kettles so we can hot drinks and can confidently light our main fire.

Weeks 1 and 2 in the woods:

Pupils have been getting familiar with their woodland site and have been involved in doing risk assessments of the area and setting up their base. They have learned how to put up the large 6ft tarp, how to build small fires and boil water for hot drinks using the Kelly Kettles. Pupils also made their own 5 minute fires which taught them how to prepare, light and safely extinguish fires. The pupils were instructed on how to light the large camp fire. The 'leave no trace' message was important so that when we leave site no one should be able to tell we were there. We have been cooking on the open fire using different outdoor cooking equipment. So far we have had sausages and bacon in buns and food parcels. All went down very well! The pupils have designated chores which will rotate weekly and all are settling well into the woodland environment.

Friday 29th October

We had our final session preparing natural Christmas items for the Farmer’s Market in November. Today pupils learned how to make willow wreaths which will form the basic structure for the final wreaths which will be on sale.

We also made some more Nordic Gnome decorations which we think will prove popular on sale day. Pupils used their knife skills to create 3 sizes of gnomes. These will be painted and assembled next week.

Our final item was bird feeder fir cones. A very messy, sticky job but we’re sure the birds will appreciate it!

Lunch today was baked potatoes with cheese and/or beans along with toasted muffins and chocolate sauce.

Friday 4th March 2016 - Bush Craft with Jay Hare