Discover your talent in the great outdoors
CHRIS White is keen to point out that there is far more to the new Exeter Forest School than woodwork and lighting fires.
Crucially, the aim is more to help children, and adults, improve their confidence and achieve their goals outside of a formal academic environment.
He said: "We find that children who do not do so well in a classroom become real leaders when they're outside and they are engaging with nature. It's incredible to see.
"Of course, they also enjoy making fire and building shelters – who doesn't?"
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Chris, along with Tom Lowday and Shevek Pring, have set up the Exeter Forest School on land donated by Shillingford Organics, a farm growing a wide variety of vegetables, edible flowers and fruit in Shillingford Abbot. It will be officially launched at an open day on Saturday, June 30, which will run from 11am to 4pm.
The event will be free with activities for the whole family.
There will be mallet making, shelter building, a fire-lighting challenge, camp-fire cooking, natural arts and a drama workshop. There will also be a barbecue selling meat from West Town Farm, salads from Shillingford Organics and rabbit burgers.
Chris, 29, who lives and works at Shillingford Organics and has been studying forest school leadership, alongside Tom, at Bicton College, said: "We are very grateful to Shillingford for giving us a beautiful copse to create the school area. It's taken a bit of time but we've made a wonderful fire pit, a whittling area, and some green wordwork tools. It is now ideal to host school groups and any other group that wants to find out more about traditional skills.
"Along with Tom and Shev, who already have their own bushcraft survival business, Woodland Life, we are looking forward to showing people what we have done."
He added: "We work with the local farms, schools and colleges and have a great love of teaching children and adults of all ages about our environment. Forest School has a rich and fascinating ethos of building the self-esteem of its participants, whilst connecting them with their natural surroundings in a safe and supportive way.
"It may sound scary to give a knife or an axe to a school child, but we believe that showing them the correct methods of use, and helping them to create their own woodland tools can lead to a life time of appreciation of their native woodlands."
To get further information, email Chris at email@example.com or phone 07878 642169.