2012 !

Native American tradition has many stories for the seasons of the year, especially those to do with the moon. This beautiful screen print is by Roy Henry Vickers, an artist and leader from the Northwest Coast First Nations. The print is called Potlatch Moon. The new moon at the beginning of January is traditionally called the Giving Moon and signals the start of the winter giving season where people visit each other and take gifts of food. A Potlatch supper is a meal assembled from food brought by guests, with each person bringing something to add to the table. Thanks to Roy Henry and the Eagle Eerie Gallery in Tofino, British Columbia for permission to use his picture to help welcome in the New Year.

One of my hopes for our Outdoor Learning Network for 2012 is that we will become a community of practitioners in outdoor learning that enjoy giving and sharing our ideas, experience, enthusiasm and expertise. We all need encouragement and support in our various roles and contexts and I hope that we will be able to give that to each other through our network activities over the coming months.

Stargazy Crazy !

used with creativecommons permission - TheDreamSky on flickr The lovely Brian Cox is off star gazing again on TV. Dara O’Briain will be working with him to help us get outside at night and study the heavens for inspiration. The BBC 2 broadcast will be live from Jodrell Bank radio observatory over three consecutive evenings beginning Monday 16th January at 8.30pm. Another exciting outdoor journey of discovery – challenge your children and young people to explore the wonders of the universe ! Thanks to TheDreamSky for the great star journey picture, used with creative commons permission.

Glow Meet Wednesday 18th January

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Health and Well-being Outdoors Glow Meet 4.15 pm – 5 pm Wednesday 18th January 2012

Young People Managing and Assessing Risk through the Outdoors – Physical Wellbeing HWB 3-16a – 4-16a

We are delighted to be able to host this Glow meet live from the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, Ratho, where we will be climbing with teacher Nick Tait and his group from Grangemouth High School. Also joining us will be Martin Davidson, Director of the Outward Bound Trust, who will tell us more about the OBT’s adventure challenge approach to learning and the way this helps to build resilience in young people.

During this Glow meet we will look at practical examples for how we can use challenge activities in the outdoors as a rich resource for developing young people’s skills in risk awareness, assessment and management. We will also look at learning strategies that can be used to build skills and understanding in the area of personal safety, for example travelling safely, keeping others safe, managing situations and responses in emergencies. Please come prepared to join in the online discussion and to share your own examples with others.

Find out more about how you can join us for this exciting and adventurous glow meet : https://portal.glowscotland.org.uk/establishments/nationalsite/GlowTV/tvpages/Schedule.aspx

Adventure Activities Safety System

The Scottish Government

News release – Adventure activities consultation http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/01/06112613

A consultation on the development of a safety system for adventure activities in Scotland has been launched by the Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison.  The Scottish Government is considering the best way forward for Scotland in light of the UK Government’s plan to replace the statutory Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) with a new voluntary code of practice.

Consultation document on developing a safety system for Adventure Activities in Scotland: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/01/04112146/0

Simple Pleasures Activities

Scottish Natural Heritage are always coming up with creative ideas for how we can explore and enjoy nature on our doorstep. Their Simple Pleasures campaign materials include activities for young adults which use things easily found in nature to inspire enjoyable outdoor tasks.

My favourite idea is the bag dangle, a lovely collection of activities all collected together in a little booklet that is easy to hang on a bag or backpack for quick access. I have printed mine off and put them in a jar as separate activities – I have taken to delving in and picking one out to carry with me into my busy days – there is always an opportunity to try things out as I am travelling around.

Go and explore the Simple Pleasures section of the SNH website here. Try out some activities and post a comment or two here to let us know how you get on.

Mission Explore !

One of the most innovative, crazy and exciting projects (and teams of people) I have come across in a long while is Mission Explore.

The idea is to inspire, take part in, record and communicate as wide a variety of missions into the outdoors as possible. Some of these are themed, some progressive, some challenging, some creative, some totally mad !

Go visit the Mission Explore site: http://www.missionexplore.net/ – get together with some friends – start and complete some missions of your own. Some missions have strong links to curricular learning particularly for secondary schools. Creative, playful and adventuresome learning at its best !

An Apple a Day

There is something very lovely about growing your own fruit, picking and eating it. But growing an orchard full of plums, pears and apples also produces many benefits for learning. Great article in the Scotsman about a programme from Fruitful Schools which aims to create an orchard in every nursery, primary and sceondary school in Scotland. Read the article here and find out more about how they plan to realise their goal, as well as some great examples from schools that have already begun to establish their orchard and to develop rich learning experiences from that context.

You can also visit the Fruitful Schools website: http://www.fruitfulschools.com/ as well as the School Orchards national glow group here, where you will find lots of resources and materials to inspire you to get started with growing fruit.