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Food Safety Outdoors

Posted: Tuesday 23rd August 2016 by OutdoorLearning

Forest School leaders and volunteers tried not to get their hands dirty whilst learning new skills for preparing and cooking food safely outdoors at Nower Wood Education Centre, Dorking.

There's nothing more satisfying than cooking on an open fire

Firstly in the classroom we learnt about food contaminants, allergies, food-borne illnesses, personal hygiene, purchasing fresh ingredients, storage and preparation of menus from experienced trainer Sarah Blake. This was important knowledge for successfully completing the written test at the end of the course that led to a Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering (Outdoors) from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

After a short refreshment break we headed out into Nower Wood to an outdoor fire site where SWT Community Learning Coordinator Paul Ritchie had started a camp fire. We split into small groups and prepared the ingredients for a vegetarian casserole, chipolata sausages for the carnivores and pitta bread following guidance from Sarah about hygienic outdoor cooking.

The camp fire cooking was an absolute success with hot wood embers bringing the casserole to the boil in the caste-iron pot and cooking the sausages to an amazing 94 degrees – a chance to test the food probe! We then tucked into our feast and enjoyed the fruits of our learning and cooking before returning to the classroom for the multiple choice test. All students passed the exam and have gone off to their various Forest Schools and Community Groups to put their learning into practice.

Surrey Wildlife Trust has an established reputation for promoting Forest Schools through our own activities and by providing training for local teachers and practitioners. Forest School is a specialised learning approach within the wider context of outdoor education that aims to reconnect people with their natural environment and engage with nature.

We have our own team of qualified and experienced Forest School Leaders who deliver programmes for early years, primary and secondary age children, as well as for young people with behavioural and special educational needs. Many schools, community groups and individuals are getting involved in this approach to outdoor learning.

Neil Jameson

Forest Schools Coordinator

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