Community and learning
At FOWA, one of our key missions is to ensure that everyone has the chance to experience nature. As the National Arboretum, there’s no better place than Westonbirt to learn about trees.
Thousands of local school pupils visit every year, taking part in workshops that help children to learn about the role of trees within our environment. It’s not just about environmental education though. More and more reports are proving the huge benefits that getting out into the woods can have on peoples’ wellbeing.
Four years ago, we secured Heritage Lottery funding to begin Westonbirt Arboretum’s community programmes, and we haven’t looked back. From bushcraft skills and outdoor campfires with youth groups, to natural arts and craft projects with disadvantaged adults, and outreach sessions for those unable to visit, these sessions have really made a difference to the more vulnerable members of our community.
The Friends fund 95% of all community and learning costs, and this is all thanks to the generous support of our members and supporters. We’re incredibly proud of this work. Without these programmes, there are people in our community who would not have the chance to get outdoors and experience the natural world.
“Without the Friends’ support there would be very little learning activity in the broadest sense at Westonbirt – the Friends are absolutely vital to learning.”
Ben Oliver, Learning and Participation Manager
Community shingle sculpture
Inspired by their overnight camps in Silkwood and green woodworking skills, our Wild Westonbirt youth group came up with an idea of a shelter sculptured from 400 shingles (shaped roof tiles) hand-made from Westonbirt oak. Learn more about the sculpture and where you can find it in the arboretum...
Mindfulness at Westonbirt Arboretum
Taking time to absorb the wonderful trees around you, feeling the wind, listening to birdsong and the forest sounds, feeling the textures of trees and plants; that’s definitely hygge! Find out more about the 'How to Hygge a Tree' publication.