Celebration for the Wild Words Audio Trail

April 6, 2022

We were thrilled last week to celebrate our Children and Young People’s Social Prescribing forest school project “Sounds of the Forest”.

Sounds of the Forest was a 12 week forest school and creative arts project for young people between the ages of 7 and 12, based in Badock’s Wood in Southmead. The project was a collaboration between Southmead Development Trust, Mud Pie Explorers and Brave Bold Drama.

All of the young people who attended were referred through our social prescribing service Link Forward. Link Forward supports the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people aged 7 – 12 years, through their team of 1 to 1 Link Workers.

Sounds of the Forest was borne out of conversations between Link Workers and young people who felt they were lacking opportunities to be in nature and to be creative. Although many lived near green spaces, there were multiple barriers to the children and their families accessing and enjoying these spaces.

For 12 weeks the participants ventured into the woods every Thursday after school. With the support of Mud Pie Explorers staff and volunteers they learned how to build and light fires, how to navigate outdoor terrain (in the dark!), how to use tools and how to safely explore and enjoy this amazing environment. With the support of Brave Bold Drama facilitators they were able to record the sounds of the woods, their voices, poems and music which was then moulded into an audio trail of the woods entitled “Wild Words”.

Through the 12 weeks we saw how young people grew in confidence and resilience, how they were able to make new friends and forge connections and how they came to value and treasure nature.

In the words of one participant, “My favourite thing has been going to forest school. I was really nervous the first time I went but I love it now. We have learned to look after nature because it looks after us!”

Our celebration event on the 29th March was a fantastic opportunity to reunite the group, this time accompanied by parents, carers, siblings and the Link Forward workers. Led by Nickie of Mud Pie Explorers we followed the audio trail that the children had made, listening to all of the recorded sounds as we went. The children were very excited to play their favourite game “One, Two, Three where are you?” This time they were leading their parents through the impossibly tiny holes in the bushes to hide.

We built fires and toasted s’mores. There was a very chilly paddle in the stream! The children showed off our tree climbing and creative skills to their families. And we harvested some wild garlic which is carpeting the woodland floor at the moment. They were all very proud to see the map of their trail printed in the booklets (beautifully put together by Gill from Brave Bold Drama and the fantastic map drawn by Emer from Mud Pie Explorers).

The event was a fitting celebration to mark the end of this great project and to provide a chance for the young people to feel proud of their growth and of their achievements. The “Wild Words” trail can be found on the Echoes App – and is a fantastic legacy of the project. The booklet is available at reception in Greenway Centre if you’d like to pick one up and go for a stroll!

 

– by Vicky, our Link Forward Manager