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There's NO Such Thing as an Average Day in the Outdoor Learning Team

Posted: Thursday 27th October 2016 by Volunteering

We can't always tell just how much our work helps people but just occasionally you get to see just how much it matters.

There are so many different ways people volunteer with the Trust; some involve keeping scrub at bay or wading through rivers. Others inspire children through connections to nature or nurturing the next generations of conservationists. One thing’s for sure: There’s no such thing as an average day in the Outdoor Learning team with Surrey Wildlife Trust.

There are so many sessions going on with varying ages and abilities on many different sites or school grounds across the county. One thing the Outdoor Learning team are incredible at is inspiring young people and helping them gain confidence. That is what being outdoors is all about; getting away from everyday stress and anxiety which can affect all ages, as Laura Stone tells us:

We were working with a special educational needs school, running Forest School sessions for the Year 7’s. One child was very quiet throughout the programme, and detached from what the rest of the group we were participating in. He was so detached that he didn’t sit with the group around the fire, and instead stood back from the circle with a teaching assistant. 

In the final session of the six week programme, he added some wood to the fire his teaching assistant had built. For him this was a big step, and we were all really pleased that he was getting involved in the session. Furthermore, I saw that some embers had fallen out of the base, and he collected some water, and poured it over them on the woodland floor. I told him that was a good thing to do, and well done for spotting it. He replied “I didn’t want the fire to catch on the woodland floor, and spread, so I put it out”. I was impressed, but the teaching assistant was amazed. I later found out that he was a selective mute, and that the teacher and assistant had never heard him speak before. At the end of the session, he sat around the fire with his classmates whilst it was put out.

You never really know how much volunteering helps: the Trust, the local environment, Surrey wildlife and the people we interact with. However, with the Outdoor Learning team you get special moments like this which give you an insight into how important these sessions and our work is and what an impact it can have. 

For more info about volunteering with The Outdoor Learning Team please contact Laura Stone at

Laura Stone

Outdoor Learning Officer

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