Children & Nature-exploring the natural environment
“Grab your wellies, wrap up warmly, we’re off to spend some time exploring the woods.”
It’s the start of one of our farm visits for children. An opportunity to get outdoors and explore the natural environment, whatever the weather.
At Humblescough Farm we are passionate about farming and nature. Alongside trying to farm as sustainably as possibly, we spend a considerable amount of time and effort improving and protecting habitats for wildlife. It is part of our mission to share our love of the natural environment and to enable children to experience the joy and exhilaration of being outdoors on the farm. We host visits from wheel-chair users and, provided that we can safely get to the woods, no-one is excluded from taking part. Visits always include time spent in the woodlands. Children are sent exploring, observing and collecting, whilst being mindful of avoiding damage to plants and wildlife.
Under the close supervision of Laurie, our Forest leader, a camp fire is lit and fire-lighting skills practised.
There’s time for a bit of quiet reflection while sitting around the camp fire and listening to a story. Marshmallows are toasted, hide and seek is played in the woods.
Forest goblins, shaped from clay, are left hiding amongst the tree branches. Dens are constructed and pixie houses built under the tree roots. Trees identification involves using bark patterns in winter or buds and leaves during other times of the year. A bug hunt takes place and ends with the creatures being safely returned to their homes.
The children are reminded that it is their responsibility to avoid deliberately damaging plants and wildlife.
Leave only footprints.
Pick up any litter.
Use natural materials.
Some areas of the wood are out of bounds -leaving the wildlife undisturbed- and the tangled mass of brambles and undergrowth clearly signals that this area must not be entered.
We return to the farmyard with the occasional nettle sting or insect bite. Messy, often muddy and with wood-smoke infused clothing. Everyone will have gained something from their visit- a sense of achievement for a new skill learnt, a developing understanding of their role in protecting the natural environment and, our greatest hope of all, an appreciation of the wonder and joy gifted to us through spending time with nature.