Small Woods, a national woodland charity, received a £25,000 donation to create four sustainable woodlands across the UK.
Small Woods manage several woodlands and educate communities on the importance of small woodlands that are vital to thriving local economies, wildlife, the health and wellbeing of local communities, as well as being hugely valuable in the fight against climate change.
Wesleyan began their relationship with Small Woods three years ago. Julie Gaskell, Development Officer at Small Woods, explained:
“Wesleyan helped us to achieve our link with Southall School, a special school in Telford. In that first year of funding we were wrapped up in creating a beautiful outside learning facility with a woodland where the students could access as many of them are disabled.
“The second year of funding enabled us deliver outdoor learning and we put some of the students through the John Muir Award to make a positive impact on the local environment. They demonstrated the impact of that learning and inspired others so that’s been brilliant.”
The most recent donation in 2021 the £25,000 funding from Wesleyan is being used to create sustainable woodlands in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland through planting 60 trees in each area and will be completed in 2022. Julia continued:
“We’ve developed this idea by involving community woodlands and schools so we hope it will grow from just planting 60 trees. The first event we’ve planned is in England at a secondary school to plant the trees to create a micro woodland. We planted different species within that area and that’s just the start, we hope we can provide an outdoor learning area like we did with Southall.
“By connecting these students to their local environment they really feel ownership of that. One of our students, Matthew, who was with us planting trees had been involved with Small Woods since he was 5 and he’s now 15 inspiring others. It’s great to get the younger generation engaged and helping with these environmental projects.
“The students are so passionate about being outside and connecting with nature and you just think how fantastic that we’ve been able to work with Wesleyan to give them that opportunity. It’s great to really ignite that passion and hope that they’ll take that forward either to future careers or just having that connection to the environment that will help them in the future with their mental health and physical health.”