The beautiful setting of The Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre in Barnes was chosen for the launch of an evaluation report on the successful environmental conservation programme Get Out There! We held a conference on September 11th to highlight the work and share the model with other conservation groups throughout the capital.
Consultant Felicity Robison, who wrote the evaluation report, reported on her findings and Judy Ling Wong, CBE president of the Black Environment Network, gave an inspiring and interesting talk on the importance of reconnecting Children to Nature, Project Wild Thing and the new Sowing the Seeds initiative. Please see video clips below.
The day was a big success, with lots of positive feedback and opportunities for networking and idea sharing.
“Very well organised and an excellent event with great messages about the natural environment and achievements of Get Out There!”
“Brilliant to have ideas sharing, networking at the end of project. We should be doing more of this as a sector”
“I just enjoyed being with you all. You do really significant work”
The Get Out There! Evaluation Report is available to download here
The funding for the project comes from Access to Nature, a scheme run by Natural England and funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The project has worked with people who are long term unemployed and at risk of homelessness, teaching them practical conservation skills which they have put to good use working on sites in Hammersmith including Wormwood Scrubs, the wildlife area in Ravenscourt Park and the grounds of Fulham Palace. Other sites visited by the team include Sydenham Hill woods, a willow coppice in Shepperton and sites in the Chilterns. 68 trainees completed the course over three years and many are continuing to volunteer on a rolling programme including work on behalf of local parks contractor Quodron Services.
Another strand of the project is organising trips for local families to the countryside, visiting sites such as Burnham Beeches and Epping Forest, exploring the woodland environment at different times of year. Children enjoy hunting for minibeasts, climbing trees and exploring the woods through the seasons. This summer we will be river dipping at Colne Valley Park in Denham, walking the woods of the National Trust Ashridge Estate, visiting the farm animals of Lambourne End Centre in Epping and exploring the wild parts of Kew Gardens.