Bradford Forest School Network ForestFest 2017 @ Blackhills Scout Camp

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Time: - | Venue:

ForestFest is an annual conference aimed at people who work in the outdoors with either children, young people or adults. It’s focus is Forest Schools but it encapsulates elements of play and education.

When1 – 2 Apr 2017
WhereBlackhills Scout Campsite, Lee Ln, Wilsden, Bradford BD16 1UB, UK (map)
Cost                  £100 (50% subsidy from Bradford Council for those living/working in Bradford)
For more information or to book contact: 
Jen Scott, BCEP,  email:, tel:01274 397641.

FF poster

Keynote Speech – Dominic Higgins

Bio - Dom Higgins is Nature and Wellbeing Manager for The Wildlife Trust. Prior to this, he was TCV’s Director of External Affairs, where he led a review of the Green Gym programme, leading to the establishment the new Green Gym team within the charity. He has worked at The Department for Education and Skills, providing strategic support to their flagship youth volunteering programme ‘Millennium Volunteers’. He is a member of Canal & River Trust’s National Volunteering Advisory Group, and is a Trustee of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD).  Previously, he worked for an international volunteering NGO, managing and developing their volunteering programme and crisis response team.  

Keynote speech detail

Dom Higgins will speak about the health and wellbeing benefits of nature and how we can best promote and celebrate its value, brought to life with stories and practice from the Wildlife Trust movement. 

Workshop – Hayley Gillard

Bio - Hayley Gillard is an Ecotherapist and uses nature as inspiration to help people feel better. With 1 in 4 people now experiencing a mental health problem in any given year and stress the biggest reason for absence from work, Hayley feels getting out in nature is crucial to our ongoing wellbeing. Hayley has over 14 years experience in the health and wellbeing sector and is a qualified Life Coach, NLP practitioner, Animal Assisted Therapist and Holistic Therapist. She has run her own social enterprise provide forest school themed sessions, retreats and events for adults and has also spoken about nature as therapy in the Guardian, on the BBC and in national magazines.

Workshop detail

Spend some time out of your own busy life and see how nature really does have the power to heal us. Hayley will show you practical real life ways to incorporate the healing powers of nature into your life and explain the theory behind why humans have an innate desire to be outdoors. Learn tips and techniques you can take away to use for your own journey of wellbeing and also in your own professional practice. We’ll be learning about mindfulness through walking barefoot and using all of our senses. We’ll be meditating under the trees and exploring our surroundings with more focus than ever before, expressing how we feel using nature as our inspiration.

Workshop – Julie West

Bio - Julie West is freelance Forest School Practitioner and registered with the British Association of Play Therapist and works independently in schools and woodlands across Bradford and Kirklees. Julie was Bradford Council’s Play and Playwork specialist trainer, has taught on the Playwork Degree at Leeds Beckett University and has published work on child centred practice. Importantly, Julie brings a sense of fun into all of her training and is passionate about supporting children’s well-being through freely directed play.  

Workshop detail

In play we can create and recreate - replay events and make up new ones, tell our own stories, make our own endings, time and time again. We can play out different roles and be the baby or the monster and everything and everyone in between and we can put roles onto others, whether they are aware of it or not. Children are ‘naturals’ at this and given the space and time they will engage in play that meets their needs and helps them to deal with the stresses in their lives. Play is naturally healing, it sooths, relaxes, energises, gives a child a sense of self and of relationship with others and provides a space in which change can occur. Add to this the open space, resources and the elements that being in nature provides and a supportive, attentive and sensitive adult and you have yourself a therapeutic environment that can support children into states of good mental health and well-being.

This training will help you explore what you already do that helps children heal and deal with difficulties in their lives, helping you to gain confidence as good practice is recognised. You will experience a range of creative mediums that support therapeutic playwork, and assess how we, as adults interact with emotionally hurt children and young people and how this can contribute to the healing process.

Workshop – Lily Horseman

Bio - Lily Horseman of Kindling has been working with children and training the children’s workforce since 1999.Lily is experienced in working with children of all ages and adults.  She has worked with and for a number of community and voluntary sector groups, Schools, Early Years settings, playwork associations and playwork training providers and environmental charities.  She has also worked for a Local Authority and in partnership with Sure Start, Children’s Centres and other statutory agencies.

Lily first undertook Forest School training in 2004, and has completed the Forest School OCN Level 4 delivered by Forest School Education. She is now an accredited Forest School trainer. Lily holds a F.E. teaching qualification and is also a trained First Aider. She also holds woodland management qualifications and has managed a number of woodlands in Cumbria.

In 2013 Lily became an APIOL- Accredited Practitioner of the Institute of Outdoor Learning. She is a director of the Forest School Association and in 2017 was elected as Chair of the FSA.


Workshop detail – We will be ‘exploring the potential for crafting and creativity from fires. We will be looking at a range of techniques using fire to work with metals, clay, fibre and charring as creative processes. We will look at the benefits of these creative processes and the additional risks they pose.

Aimed at people who already use fire in their work or have an existing level of confidence working with fire and wish to extend their practice.


Published: 06/03/2017
Audience: All Staff
Contact: Jen Scott

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