September 2017 – Woodland learning in Shiskine and Pirnmill schools
Debra and Juliette have started facilitating ‘woodland learning’ in Shiskine and Pirnmill schools this term. The staff and children are using woodland adjacent to the schools to learn about the trees and wildlife, basic survival skills and take part in art, science and storytelling activities. The woodland sites will then be available to the schools for further year-round learning.
July 15th 2017 – AGM
Our AGM this year receded a successful Folk for Roots event at Altachorvie. The full minutes of the AGM can be found on the downloads page.
Roots of Arran Forest School Leaders are helping island primary schools develop outdoor learning areas…
…adjacent to school grounds and pass on outdoor learning skills to teachers as from May 2017. So far, Kilmory Primary School has developed a mini-pond, carried out a survey of British V Spanish bluebells in their adjacent woodland and learnt how to put up tarp shelters and make hot drinks using a kelly kettle. Other activities have included bug searches and journey sticks. This is just the start!
May 2017 – Wooden shelter nearly finished
We are pleased to announce that the wooden shelter is nearly finished! We have been working on it for the past year on volunteer days and the structure is nearly complete. We are just going to add wooden walls and windows.
On 2nd and 3rd May 2015 we held a green woodworking weekend at Arran Outdoor Education Centre with Bob Fleet from Wooplaw Community Woodland and Tim Stobart from Bute bringing their expertise. One day one we progressed with making shave horses and on day two with pole lathes. The event was funded by Foundation Scotland and we are hoping to run a follow-up workshop this year in order to work on our green woodworking skills.
8/3/15 Hugely informative apple tree pruning workshop with Kathy Sayer. We learnt so many things about apple tree care and went down to Roots of Arran orchard, replaced two dead trees with a ‘Katy’ and a ‘George Cave’, pruned the rest of the trees and put well-rotted manure around their bases – here’s hoping they all flourish with our t.l.c.
We hosted a visit to the site on 24th May 2014 by about 20 lawyers and friends of ‘Wild Lawyers’ a group interested in environmental law – they came to learn about the community woodland and lent a hand removing sitka and rhododendron. Here is a photo of the group kindly taken by Sir Crispin Agnew.
Small Grants Success for Roots of Arran Community Woodland – 16/01/13
The Roots of Arran Community Woodland was established 10 years ago on a forestry commission-owned site of recent clearfell. The group has worked hard over the last decade to plant it up with a variety of native trees, establish a network of walkers’ paths, an orchard and a pond to benefit wildlife. These efforts have been supported by Arran Trust grants over the last three years. School groups have used the site over the last three years to achieve their John Muir Award and have taken part in tree-planting, art activities, pond dipping and removal of invasive species. The group has just received confirmation of a grant from the Ernest Cook Trust to continue offering ForestSchool sessions to local primary schools run by two qualified ForestSchool leaders this year. In addition to this, the group just attracted another grant from Foundation Scotland to purchase much-needed tools for keeping invasive species at bay. ‘So far, we have largely managed to stop rhododendron gaining a foothold in the woodland’ says volunteer and resident artist Mike Bailey, ‘but we needed to purchase new giant loppers and pruning saws for our volunteer workforce to remove it more effectively’. The group hopes to start up a mid-week group this spring as not all volunteers can commit to the Sunday volunteer day. ‘So all-in-all things are continuing to shape up here in our island community woodland,’ thanks mainly to the efforts of our committee and volunteers and the small grants which we are sometimes managing to secure,’ says chairperson Juliette Walsh.
Our obsession with tarp shelters continues! (October 2013)
We have been given a grant from the Voluntary Action Fund for producing a leaflet which includes a map, for visitors to the woodland and for hoodies with logos. (January 2013)
Planting 450 trees is all in a morning’s work with Scout Power! November 18th 2012
With the help of the island’s two Scout packs, light work was made of planting 450 trees last Sunday along the newly constructed paths on Roots of Arran Community Woodland site, Brodick. Fiona Kerr, Scout Leader of Shiskine Scouts and Roots of Arran Committee member applied for the trees earlier in the year from the Woodland Trust and the varieties sent included hazel, blackthorn, crab apple, elder, dog rose, hawthorn, holly, dogwood and two oak saplings from one of the Queen’s estates to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Each tree is protected with a plastic tree-guard and cane to hold it in place which will hopefully enable the trees to take root successfully. This was part of a push to plant 6 million trees across the UK to help preserve the environment. Roots of Arran Community Woodland was, seven years ago, a site of forestry clear fell with no trees. Over the years thousands have been planted and the woodland is beginning to transform from an area of ugly dereliction with little wildlife value to a thriving landscape rich in flora and fauna. Roots of Arran committee would like to thank the 40 plus volunteers who took part, Andy Walker of the Forestry Commission who transported the trees to the site and resident artist Mike Bailey, who lugged equipment down to the site in his trusty wheelbarrow.
Mike Bailey’s art-in-the-woods is progressing well – see photos! (September 2012)
Whiting Bay Primary School P3/4/5 class are participating this autumn in 1 full day a week Forest School sessions planned and delivered by two Forest School Leaders with parent and teacher support (September 2012)
North Ayrshire Council has given us a grant from the Community Benefit Fund for pond-dipping equipment.(Sept 12) This will really be useful next spring and summer with visiting groups.
The second path is now underway! (September 2012) We are thinking of adding a sculpture feature to it…watch this space…
£150 was raised from the Folk Festival Ceilidh (June 12)which will go towards running costs.
We have managed to secure a second grant for path work from the Arran Trust. (www.arrantrust.com)
We are working on a map of the site so that visitors can pick this up from the car park in order to navigate their way around.
You can walk down to the site from the Cnoc Na Dail car park as well now – just follow the path which starts to the right of the picnic bench and heads into the plantation!
The committee has welcomed a proposal from retiring Art Teacher Mike Bailey, to create artwork in the woodland throughout the coming year (2012-13) using greenwood. As ‘artist-in-residence’ he will spend time working on these structures which promise to be both thought-provoking and meditative.