Get out there and feel the dirt!
Froglife’s Green Pathways scheme helps vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to take part in positive activities linked to wildlife and conservation in their local community. Peterborough Green Pathways project has been running for nine years, reaching thousands of children and young people across Peterborough, Fenlands and Northamptonshire.
Green Pathways sessions are tailored to the needs of each group, but the main aims of the project are to enable young people to enjoy being outdoors, improve their knowledge of wildlife, the environment and how to improve it, as well as potentially improving their confidence, social skills and aspirations. They get the opportunity to show what they can really achieve in a different environment.
This ecotherapy style project rests on a mass of scientific research that suggests that being outdoors and in particular connecting with nature, has a huge positive effect on an individual. It helps improve physical and mental health, as well as having a positive effect on learning, behaviour and social skills for people of all ages and abilities.
For some young people, their reaction to today’s largely indoor based society is extreme and this can lead to detrimental effects to that person’s health and general wellbeing. Take that person to a wild space, and you can see them relax, open up, and really connect with the natural world around them.
A photo taken by a Green Pathways participant.
What is on offer?
We take referrals from a range of organisations, including schools, pupil referral units, other charities, families and sometimes the young people themselves. We develop the projects and sessions to best suit the needs of each group we work with, and the green space we’ll be working on. Some of the projects we carry out include;
This is where we would meet with the young people every week for ten weeks, usually for two hour sessions. Activities during these sessions might include:
- Planting a wildlife or bog garden;
- Creating hibernacula (amphibian refuges);
- Creating bird boxes and bird feeders;
- Restoring or creating a pond;
- Creating a wildlife mural for a community garden.
Consisting of holiday and after-school sessions for young people interested in practical outdoor activities, going on visits to different locations and joining in conservation tasks. Activities could include:
- Pond dipping;
- Creating a pond, bog garden or minipond;
- Wildlife surveys;
- Making animal homes;
- Den building;
- Clay modelling.
Above: Previous Green Pathways participants taking part in a nature walk, gardening and habitat creation
For whole community youth clubs or youth groups in deprived areas, Froglife can visit and deliver interactive sessions with a wildlife theme.
- Wildlife identification and life-cycle
- Outdoor games
- Conservation of amphibians and reptiles
- Practical sessions using the school grounds or local green spaces, including pond dipping and site maintenance
Who can get involved?
Our main target audience is young people aged 10-18 years, however we do on occasion work with younger age groups.
The young people participating may:
- Live in a deprived area
- Not attend mainstream school
- Lack confidence
- Have limited access to the outdoors
- Have learning difficulties
- Have behaviour issues
- Be involved in alcohol or drugs
- Be causing trouble inside or outside school
- Have mental health problems
- Be a young carer
This is not an exhaustive list! Please get in contact to discuss your young person’s eligibility for the project.
Quotes from previous participants and staff:
‘We have all found the sessions very beneficial. As a teacher I have seen students in a different setting and it is lovely to watch them learn new skills and play in the outdoor environment’
‘I liked going in the muddy puddles!’
‘The children really grew in confidence and were able to risk assess situations they hadn’t come across before. It was great to see them work as a team and help each other achieve’
‘I have enjoyed learning outside the classroom’
‘The project has been fantastic. The sessions were adapted to suit the needs of the children and were accessible for all. The children have improved their knowledge of the environment and enjoyment of the outdoors’
‘We worked as a team to build a den- it was fun!’
How much does it cost?
It’s free! And we may be able to offer help to overcome barriers such as transport and outdoor clothing. Sometimes, the young people themselves fund-raise towards the cost of the project.
We’re currently booking groups, families and individuals in for sessions during the summer holidays and next academic year.
How do I sign up?
For more information about the project, or to refer a group, please contact Holly the Learning Officer for the Peterborough Green Pathways project:
We are currently looking for hardy volunteers to help with all aspects of the project, from fundraising to promotion, but especially to work alongside the young people. If you love being outdoors, enjoy inspiring young people and thrive on making a practical difference to gardens or other habitats, then Green Pathways is the perfect project for you.
Training in working with vulnerable teenagers will be provided along with the appropriate DBS checks. Other training needs will be discussed with individual volunteers and provided if possible.
To find out more about volunteering for Green Pathways, contact the team on:
Green Pathways Peterborough is generously funded by grants from the following organisations:
|Chapman Charitable Trust|