In July Weavers Academy students from Wellingborough joined us for a day visit to Kings Dyke Nature Reserve and The Green Backyard. At Kings Dyke we hunted for some fossils and watched the resident Kingfishers in one of the many bird hides. The students then came along to The Green Backyard to explore the site and make calzones for lunch using the outside pizza oven. We toasted marshmallows over the fire afterwards for a bit of something sweet.
With autumn fast approaching it meant that there was lots of work to be done at Froglife’s allotment so we had a young person join us on one to one sessions throughout August. We created bird boxes, bee boxes and looked after the fruit and vegetables that were growing (as well as practising a bit of quality control!) We also used spray paint to give our resident plastic frog a well deserved makeover.
Get out there and feel the dirt!
Green Pathways is a youth project doing practical outdoor activities with young people aged 5-18 in Peterborough, Northamptonshire and Fenland district. The project supports those with extra difficulties in their lives to improve green spaces for wildlife and people; and learn about and enjoy the environment.
We work towards the 6 outcomes below but because nature is so brilliant our sessions have benefits beyond these, for both the individuals and wider community. These include increased attainment and employability, signposting to further support or opportunities, safer communities and improved community relations.
1. Increase confidence
2. Improve social skills
3. Increase positive behaviour
4. Improve knowledge of the environment
5. Increase enjoyment of the outdoors
6. Improve transferrable conservation skills
This project rests on a mass of scientific research that suggests that being outdoors, and in particular connecting with nature, has a huge positive effect. It helps physical and mental health, learning, behaviour and social skills for people of all ages and abilities.
Please click below to open a booklet for young people living in Peterborough, containing information on finding green spaces, volunteering, how the outdoors can help, and more.
That sounds great, what exactly is on offer?
Example multi-session activities:
- Painting a wildlife-themed mural
- Pond creation
- Willow weaving
- Wildlife garden creation
- Nature-inspired art, creative writing or drama
- Growing veggies
- Event organising
Example single-session activities:
- Snake hunting
- Bonfires and outdoor cooking
- Den building
- Wildlife gardening
- Planting or harvesting veggies
- Habitat management using saws and loppers
- Constructing wildlife homes
- Fossil hunting
- Tree climbing
- Pond dipping
We want to get to know young people, partly because we like them but also so we can see how they benefit from taking part in our programme. This means we are not really looking for a brief encounter but a more long-term commitment.
If a young person is taking part during term time, either during or after school, we offer a block of 10 sessions spread over one term. Each session is usually around 2 hours. During the holidays we offer 4 sessions which can be longer than two hours. Each package involves an introductory session to discuss options, plus a mix of multi- and single-session activities.
We have limited availability to offer day trips outside the region to young people we have been working with on long-term projects. This might be to a museum, university or important wildlife site. We can also offer overnight camps with a wildlife theme for families.
One-off sessions and outreach
We know that sometimes it is hard to commit to long-term projects so we have limited availability to offer one-off, single session activities to an individual, family or small group.
If you can demonstrate that your school or youth group has a large proportion of young people that meet our eligibility criteria, we can also deliver outreach work. These interactive sessions could be indoors, themed around for example, reptiles and amphibians, careers in conservation or climate change; or outdoors using your open space.
Now I am really interested, how do I know who is eligible?
To make Pudsey smile, we have targets to reach vulnerable or disadvantaged young people aged between 5 and 18. We have however met our targets already for the younger ones and so we are focussing more on secondary-aged young people. We could work with any young people who fit the criteria above, for examlpe they may:
- Live in a deprived area
- Lack confidence
- Have mental or physical health problems
- Cause trouble in or outside of school
- Are affected by drink or drugs
- Have difficulty making friends
- Don’t attend mainstream education
- Are in care
- Look after a family member
- Involve a small group (maximum 6)
- Be 1:1
- Comprise a whole family
We can accept referrals from:
- Pupil referral units
- Youth groups
- Young people themselves
- Children’s services
It’s free you say?
Yes free! We may even be able to offer support to overcome barriers such as transport or outdoor clothing
So when do sessions run?
We offer sessions Monday to Friday roughly between the hours of 9am and 5pm but we are flexible. We work during school time, after school and in the holidays throughout the year
How long do you get to play in the wild?
Sessions during term time are around 2 hours. During the holidays they can be longer. This is negotiated with the referral agency.
What kind of places do you work in?
We use parks, community gardens, local nature reserves and woods across the region. We have well-established relationships with some wonderful places in Peterborough such as The Green Backyard, Olive Branch Community Gardens, Boardwalks Nature Reserve and Kings Dyke Nature Reserve. We are just starting to find places in Fenland and Northamptonshire so if you know of any that would be keen to get involved, please get in contact. Sometimes we work in school grounds but we find sessions are more effective away from a young person’s normal hang-out.
I love this, how do I find out more?
My name is Gail Lydall and I am the Learning Officer for Peterborough’s Green Pathways project. Please use the details below to contact me for more information:
Thanks to our funders