Schools out - new forest classroom in Bilbrook officially opens

Released on 30 April 2018

South Staffordshire council news

Local school children in South Staffordshire will soon be able to discover the benefits of outdoor learning when a new forest classroom opens at Jubilee Wood in Bilbrook at 10am on Tuesday 1 May 2018.

Friends of Bilbrook, a non-profit making community group that aims to improve the environment and improve the open spaces, is the group responsible for the project. They will be joined on the day by school children from Lane Green First School and representatives from South Staffordshire Council, which owns and maintains the site. Forest School teacher Rachel Bailey will be on hand to co-ordinate educational activities for the groups of children including stream dipping, a mini beast hunt, natural art and fire lighting.

This forest classroom has been made possible by local shoppers voting for the community project as part of the Tesco 'Bags of Help' local community grant scheme. The project received a £2,000 donation from the fund and this meant the team was able to install an outdoor forest classroom and picnic area in Jubilee Wood. The funding paid for the classroom with oak benches made in Bewdley with oak from the Wyre Forest near Kidderminster and a willow 'fedge', a cross between a fence and a hedge made of living willow, and an outdoor activities forest school teacher for two days.

Keri Lloyd, Chairman of Friends of Bilbrook, said, “It's great that this project has received so much support from people working and living in the local community. The 'Forest School' concept of using local woodland areas to hold outdoor activities helps foster children's problem-solving and collaboration skills and encourages them to work with others on challenging outdoor activities. It's all about developing their practical skills and an appreciation for being outdoors.

“We're also hoping parents will also come along and join in and learn alongside their children about the natural environment in Bilbrook. The area is an ideal picnic spot too and we want as many people to use it as possible and sit in the lovely surroundings and take in the wonderful birdsong and watch the wildlife, which now lives and thrives in the wood."

Councillor Val Chapman, Chairman of South Staffordshire Council, said, “I'm delighted that local children will now be able to learn more about woodland and explore the outdoor environment through this new forest classroom. It's a wonderful resource and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank 'Bags of Help' for their support and Forest Schools Birmingham, who installed the classroom."

Notes to editors

The Tesco 'Bags of Help' local community grant scheme uses the money raised from plastic carrier bag sales to fund thousands of local projects in communities across the UK. Since launching in 2015, 'Bags of Help' has awarded more than £25 million across more than 3,000 local projects. For more information, please visit: www.tesco.com/carrier-bags/

Jubilee Wood in Bilbrook was created in 2012 to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and to leave a lasting and pleasant legacy for the village. Overseen by Friends of Bilbrook and South Staffordshire Council, the wood was created with the help of the Woodland Trust, Wolverhampton Tree Services and Forest Schools Birmingham. Trees of note include an oak grown from an acorn from the Sandringham royal estate and a yew tree grown from a sapling of the famous Ankerwyke Yew Tree under which the Magna Carta was signed. The wood also includes hibernacula for small invertebrates, barn owl nesting boxes, bird nesting boxes and bat roosting boxes, and a forest classroom. For more information, please visit: www.friendsofbilbrook.org/project/jubilee-wood/ 


Contact details

For further details contact
South Staffordshire District Council
Council Offices,
Wolverhampton Road,
Codsall,
South Staffordshire,
WV8 1PX

Tel: 01902 696000

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