Showing posts with label training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label training. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Wildlife Interpretation: Creating great visitor experiences

(I am not involved with this workshop but Susan is a valued friend and trusted colleague and I reckon this is worth shaking your leaves and feathers over, so why not go along?. O, and the pictures are mine and included 'cause I like colourful blogs!)

gratuitous wildlife pic!

Wildlife Interpretation: Creating great visitor experiences
A workshop arranged by the
Association for Heritage Interpretation

Old Moor RSPB Reserve, Barnsley, S73 0YF
Tuesday 17th June 2014, 10.00am – 4.00pm

Susan Cross –  Interpretation and visitor experience developer, TellTale 
Ivan Nethercoat – Training Manager at RSPB
I said I liked colour,
I didn't promise relevance!
How do we help audiences engage with wildlife sites and have enjoyable and meaningful experiences? There can be challenges associated with interpreting wildlife that moves, disappears, changes with the seasons, and doesn’t behave how we might wish!

This workshop will consider the particular issues associated with providing interpretation at wildlife sites and highlight some interesting recent developments in the field including:
  • Visitor segmentation - and what understanding different motivations for wildlife experiences means for the interpreters.
  • Developing good practice guidelines for wildlife interpretation – an initiative by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Investigating visitor attitudes to using smartphones to enhance their experience of nature reserves
There will also be an opportunity to hear about the role of interpretation in the RSPB and to visit the Old Moor reserve.

The workshop is designed for anyone interested in communicating with visitors at wildlife sites: interpretation professionals, countryside rangers, people engagement or education officers, site managers, etc.

The day will include presentations and activities, and provide inspiration and ideas that you can put into practice for your visitors right away. There will be opportunities to meet with, share ideas, activities and information with others who undertake similar work.

Susan Cross, the lead trainer at this workshop, is one of the best-known specialists in visitor experience and interpretation in the UK. She has spent 25 years building memorable connections between people, place, and wildlife. Her consultancy, TellTale, has advised and worked with a huge number of bodies from National Parks to the National Trust.

Venue, Cost & Enquiries
RSPB Old Moor is a wonderful wetland and centre with a wealth of birdlife. The site lies about 5 miles from Junction 36 of the M1 and 7 miles from Junction 37 of the A1(M). The railway stations of Wombwell and Bolton-on-Dearne are 2 and 3 miles away respectively, and Barnsley about 4 miles away
For more information go to

The cost of the event is £80 for AHI members and £100 for non-AHI members (including lunch and refreshments). Places are limited to 20. 

Attendance on this course is worth two points for those working towards full membership of AHI.

For bookings and enquiries contact the Association for

Heritage Interpretation at 54 Balmoral Road, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 4PG by telephone on 0560 274 7737 or by email to

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Storytelling, mountains and wonders

Storytelling workshop
Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, 
6th April 2014

ancient woods and deep pools will share their stories

Every year I do a lively day of tale-telling, riddles, and wild lies  as part of the Wilderness Guide Training Programme.

These are cheerful, busy days where we draw inspiration from the world around us to compose new stories, play with poems and finally find our own ways of remembering and retelling traditional stories

A day of excitement, laughter and challenges!

While this is part of the bigger Guide Training programme, you can book for just the single workshop (follow the link to find out more). Or why not make a weekend of it as that same weekend features other day workshops?  This year includes Gaelic in the Landscape, Wilderness Cookery and Astronomy

(this last is to be highly recommended - it is a very interesting day and two years ago we ended the workshop late on the Saturday night watching Saturn through a telescope and lying on the grass identifying constellations with mobile phone apps.) 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Festival of Outdoor Learning

The Annual Festival of Outdoor Learning
Hollowford Centre, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire
 22nd and 23rd February 2014

finding stories

I've been doing workshops at these gatherings for a few years now and they are always lively, cheerful events. Excellent opportuntieis for meeting people, catching up on old friends, making new ones, exploring ideas and having good-natured arguments with people

I am only there on the Saturday  doing workshops:
  • the Value of Tiny Things
  • Finding Stories (details below)

there might be crows too Tiny to photograph!

 Other excitements from a very busy programme include:
  • working with special needs students
  • circular map making
  • Biomimicry: learning from nature's genius
  • trainer in a rucksack

…and lots more!

Tiny lanterns might
light a small corner 
The conference often sells out (and at only £75 for the weekend, it's a bargain - the fee includes 4 workshops,a cocommodation and food) and workshop spaces need booking.
Follow the Lindley Trust link to find out more - and come and join us!

 My workshops:
Finding stories
A lively session spinning new stories, wild tales and improbable characters out of found materials. Working indoors and out, we'll look at techniques to use with groups to build stories to tell, practical hints and useful themes for ourselves as leaders and additional activities to give ourselves the confidence to weave new stories on the spot.

The Value Of Tiny Things
Two main themes coincide in this workshop: the sheer excitement a lot of children (and older people!) find in working on a small scale and the practical limits on what equipment we can carry with us. So, with a guide to "make nothing bigger than your own hand", we'll set off to explore some Tiny Worlds with pirates and goblins, castles, treasure maps, tiny books terrible, tiny monsters. There may be even a fleet of very small ships on a very small pond

Tiny Pirates meet a Tiny mermaid

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Building networks: Burrenbeo conference 2013

The official details of this year's Burrenbeo conference are pasted in below. I was at last year's event and it was rich and delightful. Good company, a wonderful setting and lots of thought-provoking sessions. so if you fancy a trip out to the west of ireland and the spectacular limestone landscapes of the Burren in July...sign up!

Place-based Learning – building a network?
Kinvara July 18th-20th 2013.
Building on the success of the inaugural Learning Landscape Symposium Apathy to Empathyreconnecting people with place in 2012, the Burrenbeo Trust are hosting an intimate networking event this year for place-based educators, teachers, parents and anyone with an interest in place-based learning and/or learning in the Burren. 
This event aims to:
                provide a unique opportunity to network with other place-based educators from Ireland and beyond, exchange ideas and experiences
                hear from some leading practitioners both nationally and internationally
                continue the momentum from our biannual symposium in 2012 and build towards our planned 2014 event
                explore Ireland ’s ultimate learning landscape, the Burren.   

This event will feature interactive workshops in community venues in Kinvara village as well as field trips to the Burren, cultural events and much more.   It will start on the evening on the 18th, the workshops will be throughout the 19th, and there is an optional fieldtrip on the 20th.  

Workshop leaders include:
Michael Ryan (
Gordon D’Arcy
Katy Egan
Sophie Nicol
Zena Hoctor
Shane Casey
….more workshop leaders to be confirmed shortly.

Cost: €70 (€60 for OAP/Students, €55 for Burrenbeo Trust members). 
Bookings are now open by contacting and 091 638096 or downloading the attach form and sending it back.  Places are strictly limited and bookings will be on a first come first served basis. 
The full programme will be released shortly; keep an eye on for more information.
The Burren, Ireland ’s Learning Landscape - An Bhoireann, Tírdhreach Saíochta na hÉireann

Supported by the Heritage Council

Monday, 25 February 2013

Mountain tales

Mountain tales
a day of storytelling and storymaking in the Cairngorms, 
Sunday April 14th 2013

last year, this little character entertained us

an environment full of starting points
 As part of a weekend of activities on the Wilderness Guide Training Programme, I will be leading a story day at Glenmore Lodge

My day will include chance to:
  • experiment with ways of making up stories with groups,   
  • using the world around us - the world your wilderness walk has taken you through - to shape new stories         
  • draw instant poems from weather, landscape and moment       
  • techniques for learning and telling traditional stories

Make the most of those round-the-fire evenings…..

This weekend also includes workshops on natural navigation, astronomy and Scottish geology and landforms by some very exciting workshop leaders. (Watching the rings of Saturn through a  telescope on a cold Cairngorm night was one of my highpoints of last year!)

Each workshop lasts a whole day and you can book in for one day or two - or if you are inspired, perhaps you will do the whole training programme

For booking details and prices contact:
the wider horizon, 2012

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Biodiversity excitements in Derbyshire!

Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Partnership Forum 2012
17 November 2012
9.45 - 16.00
County Hall, Matlock
A programme of talks, workshops and displays showing how you can get the message about biodiversity
across to a variety of different audiences in fun and imaginative ways.

Free but places need booking

More information:
Get the biodiversity message across!
In our world of 24 hours-a-day media, and with many demands for our attention, we need effective and imaginative ways
Each year the Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Partnership holds a themed Annual Forum for partners and community groups. This year that theme is about Communication.
Our event will look at a number of imaginative ways being used to encourage others to appreciate and respect nature, or to become active volunteers or members of local groups.
The workshops on offer will be wide and varied. You can pick up to three, so it’s easy to try out different activities in a safe environment and learn from experienced practitioners. Details of the workshops are on the next page of this flier. Please select your preferred choices of workshop when you complete this booking form.
By the end of the event, we hope you will be inspired to try out some different ways to communicate your passion for nature to others. The workshops are designed to give you a range of different techniques to take back to your work or voluntary projects, so you’ll be contributing to the ‘educational’ part of the Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan, too!
There will be plenty of opportunities during the day to share experiences amongst like-minded individuals, as well as to meet other groups and individuals within the county.
How much does it cost?
Attendance at the Annual Forum is
free, but places must be booked in advance using the attached form.
Who is the event aimed at?
The event is aimed at partners, parish councils, landowners, schools, volunteers, community groups, students and anyone else who wants to find out about different ways of communicating a biodiversity-related message. Anyone can attend the event, but priority will be given to organisations in Derbyshire, or who are already part of the LBAP Partnership.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Here, there and away again!

excitement, fun and investigation in the Park

Home again after a lively fortnight in Richmond Park, just to unpack the car, check in on the assorted beasts (fish, toads, newts, tadpoles and toadlets) gather my wits, pack a new bag and head off out to
farewell from Richmond wildlfie

‘From Apathy to Empathy –reconnecting people and place’with leading international and national experts in place-based education22nd-24th August, Kinvara, Co.Galway

I'll just quote from their bumpf:

Burrenbeo Trust is delighted to present its inaugural Learning Landscape Symposium programme Titled‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place this unique event will bring together leading national and international thinkers and practitioners who specialise in the theme of place-based learning. Place-based learning encourages the use of the local environment as a learning resource. It immerses individuals in local heritage, culture and landscape, encouraging them to become more aware of their place.  The final version of this evolving programme will be posted up on the website before the event.
With 20 talks and interactive sessions, this symposium will have something for everyone. Leading experts from the States,David Sobel, Gregory Traymer, and from the UK Gordon MacLellan, Jane Stoneham, and Tony Kendle will be joined by Irish place based educators such as Michael Gibbons, Katy Egan, Sean McDonagh, John Feehan, Gordon D’Arcy, Cillian Roden, Nessa Cronin, Karen Till, Patrick McCormack, Eileen Hutton, Eugene Lambe, Pat Nagle and many, many more as they participate in workshops, on-site demonstrations as well as guided walks and cultural events. Participants will be immersed in one of the nation’s most inspiring places and challenged to engage fully with this place and the issues that impact on them, learning lessons and techniques which can be adapted to their own place and its needs.

Reports will follow!
home is also Streptocarpus flowers!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Opportunities for a bit of inspiration

Training has suffered a bit in our current distressed times so when there is a chance to do something exciting, we can only hope that people will take the opportunity to dive in.

Why not seize the moment and find new inspiration, activities to use and renewed delight in the work we share.

‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’

featuring leading international and national experts in place-based education

 22nd-24th August 2012, The Burren, Ireland
This unique event will bring together leading local, national and international thinkers and practitioners who specialise in the theme of place-based learning (jncluding your very own Creeping Toad). Place-based learning encourages the use of the local environment as a learning resource. It immerses individuals in local heritage, culture and landscape, encouraging them to become more aware of and engaged with their place.

Go to the previous entry on this blog for more information 
improvising mantids

Monday 15th October 2012
Leaves, grass and plastic bottles: creative ways of using natural, found and recycled materials

 activities and inspiration using natural, found and recycled materials with groups to encourage a creative exploration of the world around us

Description: with resources that fit in a single bag, quick activities to use natural materials in sculpture, storymaking, puppetry and mess on a walk through the woods with a group. Later, we'll add more recycled materials and make masks, bigger puppets, illuminated sculptures, hanging mobiles, drifting ghosts. A chance to experiment, improvise and inspire yourself and your groups with the resources around us

Where: Bishops Wood Environment Centre, Worcestershire

Course cost:  £135.00 
For further details and information about this and other Bishops Wood courses,
please contact:
Bishops Wood Centre
Crossway Green, Stourport-on-Severn
DY13 9SE
Telephone: 01299 250513 Fax: 01299 250131
Visit the website at:

good training offers, ideas, activities and time to absorb them. We cannot guarantee sunshine, however. 

‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’

‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’
featuring leading international and national experts in place-based education
22nd-24th August 2012, The Burren
Burrenbeo Trust are delighted to announce that we are now accepting bookings for our inaugural Learning Landscape Symposium titled ‘From Apathy to Empathy – Reconnecting People and Place’. This unique event will bring together leading local, national and international thinkers and practitioners who specialise in the theme of place-based learning.  Place-based learning encourages the use of the local environment as a learning resource. It immerses individuals in local heritage, culture and landscape, encouraging them to become more aware of and engaged with their place.
With 20 talks and interactive sessions, this workshop will have something for everyone.  Leading experts from the US - David Sobel and David Orr- and the UK - Gordon MacLellan and Tony Kendle - will be joined by our own place based educators including Michael Gibbons, Katy Egan, Sean McDonagh, John Feehan, Gordon D’Arcy, Nessa Cronin, Karen Till, Patrick McCormack, Eugene Lambe and many, many more . Participants will be immersed in one of the nation’s most inspiring places and challenged to engage fully with this place and the issues that impact on it, learning lessons and techniques which can be adapted to their own place and its needs.
The Learning Landscape Workshop will feature a combination of keynote lectures at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, themed workshops in venues across the beautiful village of Kinvara and site based workshops in the stunning Burren landscape.  Areas that will be explored during the event include: what are the benefits, for people and places, of place-based learning? What is best practice worldwide in engaging and inspiring people with regard to their place? And how can the Burren, Ireland ’s ultimate outdoor classroom, be better utilised and developed as a learning landscape? 
This event is open to everyone.  The workshop price is €150 (€125 for Trust members).  Day rates may be offered on request, however these are subject to availability.  
THERE ARE ONLY 100 PLACES AVAILABLE for this event.  Those that book first will be given priority when choosing workshops so get booking if you don’t want to be disappointed.
To book your place please fill in the attached booking form and pop it in the post or send us the necessary details by email or phone to or 091-638096.  To view the evolving programme, go to  A final programme will be circulated well in advance of the event.
Burrenbeo will be offering two full scholarships to attend this workshop (worth €150 each).  To be considered for these please send us 250 words on why you would benefit from attending this workshop, including information on your background on place based learning.  The deadline for such proposals is the 1st August.  
This workshop has been part-supported by The Heritage Council.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

More Small Things, and snow-covered mountains

A weekend in the Cairngorms with cold but bright days and snow on the mountains. Wonderful!

I was there to deliver a day on stories for activity and expedition leaders for Wilderness Scotland to extend their storytelling skills. This was part of an activity leaders' development programme, a joint venture betweenWS and the Institute for Outdoor Learning . Enthusiastic participants, nice venue and beautiful setting. What more could a'body ask for?
evening walk and knotted tree-roots on the banks of the Green Lochan
Lochan reflections

We spent Saturday evening in the company of Rupert Hutchinson watching planets rise and constellations twinkle slowly into sight as the skies darkened. Saturn looked like a cartoon of itself: such a small, precise image through the telescope. Venus and Mars glowed and we lost Andromeda somewhere behind Glenmore Lodge.

There was also an echo of an earlier post in the tiny peblle person who emerged during one of our exercises and promptly charmed the whole company so we took lots of photos of him/her/it posing….

Monday, 2 April 2012

Creative Connections course

 I thought this might excite a few folk out there. SpeyGrian work in beautiful places with lovely ideas...give yourself a creative treat....

creative connections course
SpeyGrian Educational Trust
4 - 11th August 2012, Isle of Eigg

An exciting opportunity for personal and professional development set in the spectacular natural environment of the Island of Eigg

In 2012, the SpeyGrian Educational Trust, supported by Eco-Schools is offering an exciting course aimed at those who seek to develop their understanding of the natural world. Teachers, artists, writers, lecturers, NGO staff and ecologists are among those who have found Creative Connections a valuable Continuing Professional Development opportunity.

The course will run from 4th - 11th August 2012 and will cost £425

Course Aims:
·      discover creative and innovative approaches to recording a learner's journey both for personal and professional use

·      get inspiration and ideas from sharing walks, workshops and other activities with people froma wide variety of backgrounds

·      provide the opportunity for personal reflection and skill development in  beautiful setting, clarifying ideas and the nature and purpose of learning and teaching

·      encourage wider social and professional connections across disciplines

For more details about the course, contact

For more information on SpeyGrian themselves, visit
I wish I was there right now!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Maths and Literacy courses, March 2012

We've got two half-day sessions in the Peak District in March. Looking at finding inspiration for stories and other writing outdoors and taking maths into physical settings with pirate treasure trails, clues and games, these sessions are great fun and full of lively, hands-on experiences, people to share ideas with and time to think about your own practice and how you might develop new activities. Basic details are below, follow contact Sarah Wilks to book and for more information:

Maths Naturally, Losehill Hall, YHA, 21st March, 1.30 - 5.30 £70 per person (discount if you book on both courses)

sizes and shadows might be the code for a pirate treasure lock....
or maybe we see what Maths we can do with icicles

Adventures Everywhere: literacy in the outdoors, Moorland Discovery Centre, 22nd March, 1.30 - 5.30pm. £70 per person (discount if you book on both courses)

sticks, flowers and a lump of clay can spell out a story

Friday, 27 January 2012

Annual Festival of Outdoor Learning

03 -04 March 2012

2 days of liveliness in the Hope Valley, this annual event run by t the Lindley Trust and the Institute of Outdoor Learning is a good chance to renew old connections, forge a few new ones  and get some juicy new activities to work with
small adventures hidden all over the place...

I'm there on the Saturday with a storywalks workshop - activities to plan and lead your own walk, and a wild books session - techniques for making little books in the field as ways of recoding observations or noting down the wild adventures that are growing out of the spaces you are working in

stories are for everyone...
...we just need ourselves a bit of time

From the Hollowford website:

A Great CPD Opportunity for Outdoor Professionals, Teachers, Youth Workers and Anyone With A General Interest In The Outdoors
Only £70 for the whole weekend - includes 4 workshops, 2 nights accommodation and meals during the the event

We have a great line up of workshops already confirmed

Saturday Workshops
                Gang Interventions - Julia Wolton
                Story Walks - Gordon MacLellan, Creeping Toad
                Group Dynamics - Dave Baines & Harvey Downey
                Pottery In The Outdoors - Gill Jones
                Natural Music Making - Alex Hampson
                Dark Skies - Dave Chalton
                Wild Books - Gordon MacLellan, Creeping Toad

Sunday Workshops
                Outdoor Photography - Alex Ekins
                Philosophy Within The Outdoors - Frag Last
                Environmental Learning Made Easy - Jim Langley
                Throwing Arrows, Make and Play - Ian Cresswell
                Improve Your Forward Paddling - John Handyside

we can grow stories out of all sorts of things...
(and without any apology at all, most of these photos are from warmer climes than the Hope Valley in March but I am sure the excitement will be the same!)