This year to help support the outdoor learning I do with my pupils I’ve signed up to do Season training with Fife’s Ranger Service. This involves attending 4 sessions throughout the year with a focus on tree and plant identification.
The Autumn session was held a couple of weeks ago at Loch Ore Meadows. When we arrived Karen the ranger had 3 kelly kettles on the go and we all had tea or coffee, nothing quite beats drinking coffee outside.
Karen then took us on a treck through the woods where she helped us identify different woodland areas. For example in mixed woodland there is a lot of undergrowth and a wide variety of plant life but in a beech wood the tree canopy blocks out most of the light so there is very little undergrowth. As well as helping us identifying which tree was which by their leaves, Karen also gave us other really interesting information about each tree. Did you know that the base of the trunk on a beech tree looks like an elephant foot or that you can make whistles from elder trees?
Through out the session Karen gave us copies of sheets she had printed from the nature detectives which is site run by the Woodland Trust. I’ve used some of their resources with my class before and I can highly recommend them if your outdoor learning focus is all about discover about nature. They have resources that are suitable for all ages, one of my favourite for early years is their Welly walk. A lot of the resources are editable which means you can adapt them so the children are only looking for things that are available in your area.
We spotted several different types of mushrooms when we were out but my favourite was this purple one below (you can tell by the colours in this blog why that is).
I really enjoyed this session and came away with a lot more knowledge about tree identification than I could have read in a book, I am looking forward to sharing this with my class. Next session is in January hopefully any snow will have gone by then.