Green Guardians learn the art of bushcraft

Sarah our Green Guardians Project Officer talks about her Easter adventures in bushcraft.

Green Guardians is all about getting young people outside to make connections to nature. Bushcraft can be a great way to do this. There’s something about spending time in the woods and sitting round a fire fettling that really brings people together.

Green guardians groups learn the art of bushcraft

Sorting sticks for the first bushcraft challenge!

I had a great couple of days out in the first week of the Easter holidays with two youth groups – Oxenhope Youth and Skipton Young Carers doing bushcraft activities. We were based up at Malham Tarn Field Centre and whilst the weather was somewhat bleak, spirits were high.

Each day began with an orienteering type quiz to collect items needed for the bushcraft session. This gave the young people time to explore the beautiful location on their own. They also found out a bit about what goes on at Malham Tarn and how the Field Studies Council work to benefit the environment.

Fire lighting challenge

Bushcraft began! Not surprisingly we started by collecting a lot of sticks and sorted them into size order, followed by a demonstration on how to light a fire without matches. The young people were then challenged to light their own fires. Given the rather wet weather, this was a pretty tricky task! But both groups succeeded without help and we made hot chocolate on the Kelly kettle to celebrate & warm up.

Green Guardians groups learn fire lighting and other bushcraft skills

Success in the fire lighting challenge!

Getting crafty

I’d designed the rest of the session to be quite informal with craft activities they could try on and round the fire. Some of the group decided they’d like to do some den building – which was great. When I work with young people I’m really keen to let them follow their own interests as much as possible. So long as it’s safe is my motto!

The group took part in some craft activities including:

  • making little clay creatures to bake in the fire
  • making charcoal to draw with and take home
  • making stick people from wire and Elder twigs
  • Pewter casting

Our favourite activity was pewter casting which produced some lovely results that the young people could take home.

Green Guardians groups learn pewter casting

Pewter casting – our favourite fireside craft activity.

Connecting with nature
The day concluded with a bit of reflection around the fire – with toasted marshmallows of course!

My favourite comments from the day were:

“That is was one of the best times I’ve had in a long time . It was just great to get outdoors and learning life saving skills and stuff.”

“That it’s a great way to re-connect with nature when you feel you are always stuck inside and want to have fun outdoors. Great time!”

Big thanks to all the young people for their enthusiasm and to the support staff who came along and to Malham Tarn Field Centre for letting us use their grounds (and come inside for lunch on the coldest day!).

Green Guardians is part of the YDMT’s Green Futures programme part of Our Bright Future, a £33 million programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and run by a consortium of eight organisations which is led by The Wildlife Trusts. To find out more about Green Guardians visit our website.

First summit for our young green champions!

Sian is one of our Green Futures Environmental Trainees based at Cumbria Wildlife Trust. In this blog Sian tells us all about her experience at the very first Green Futures Youth Environment Summit this October.

The scheme mine and Isaac’s apprenticeship has come from is called Green Futures, a project run by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust as part of the Our Bright Future programme. Green Futures consists of four environmental youth orientated groups: Eco Schools, Young Rangers, Green Guardians and finally the Environmental Trainee Scheme that our apprenticeships come under.

This year, Green Futures, piloted their idea of a Youth Summit, through which all four branches of the Green Futures project could meet. The three day residential was held in the gorgeous setting of the field studies centre at Malham Tarn – a suitably inspiring backdrop for such an inspiring weekend!

Making bird boxes at the Green Futures Youth Environment Summit.

Sian & other young people from across the North West came together to explore environmental issues at the Green Futures Youth Environment Summit.

With an age range of 12 – 21, it would be easy to assume that activities to suit everybody were hard to come by, but as everyone had one very big shared passion no such problem occurred – in fact the weekend flew by with the amount of things we had to do! Activities included a trail around the grounds of Malham Tarn Field Studies Centre, a talk on using your own personal strengths to get involved in the environment from Grainne, who is on the national Our Bright Future steering group, making a bird box, and the ‘recycle Olympics’. On the Sunday we had a series of incredibly informative workshops on food waste, packaging waste, and water waste.

Everybody who attended was so open minded and uniquely knowledgeable, the weekend was a huge success. Having spoken to YDMT staff after they’d received the feedback forms, I learned that the only suggestion for improvement from attendees – including myself – was that the residential was longer… which is always a good sign!

Making bird boxes - one of the many activities in offer at the Youth Summit.

Making bird boxes – one of the many activities in offer at this years Youth Summit.

Green Futures

Our Green Futures project aims to empower and support the ambitious and capable young people of Yorkshire and Lancashire to become more involved, aware and connected to the fantastic natural environment that’s right on their doorstep. Find out more on our website www.ydmt.org/green-futures

You can also find out about the Our Bright Future programme Green Futures is part of here.