Local grassroots forest school and outdoor training centre ‘kinship in nature’ was founded in 2017. Now, directors Misty Twigg and Rhiannon Leyland are keen to share the story with the wider community
Our forest school, ‘kinship in nature’, facilitates meaningful experiences, which foster community, connections and well-being for people and nature. It is with the empowerment of witnessing the positive impact that connecting with nature has had for participants and for ourselves, that we take the project forward to be part of an alternative educational movement in Britain that is now being embraced by the mainstream.
Our work is rooted in forest school, nature connection and experiential education practices that deepen relationships with the natural world. We offer this through long-term weekly and monthly sessions, one-off school holiday camps and community gatherings. These have been such a success, we currently have more demand than we can meet. Our mission is to reach beyond our forest walls so more humans can benefit. We want everyone to experience the transformational process that is forest school, so future generations can grow up connected to nature. We realised the most effective way to do this would be through enabling others to offer their own provisions, and we’re consulting with various schools and organisations to achieve this.
We are nature and we need to spend regular periods of time outside in our daily lives. The benefits of connecting to the natural world include nervous system regulation and improvement of mental health. We have had countless positive stories about the benefits our kinship have experienced in their everyday lives. Many of the adults who attend the sessions say how it has really impacted their mental health positively, including overcoming post-natal depression and anxiety.
We host a number of certified trainings, including first aid. Last year we created a fully funded traineeship for people who need a stepping-stone into a career working in this field. These are all facilitated by experienced and highly regarded industry leaders. We started hosting workshops due to personal growth requests from our team. Participants to date have been local parents, carers, forest school practitioners, teachers and professionals working in related fields.
It has been important to us since our inception to ensure what we do is accessible to the local community. We therefore offer bursaries on all our work in the forest and have never turned anyone away due to a lack of funds. Having grown solely through word of mouth, with so many strings to our bow and incredible opportunities to offer, we feel this is an opportune time to introduce ourselves and give a voice to the transformational ways we are working with the local community.
Kinship in Nature is based at the Wanstead Quaker Meeting House, Bush Road, E11 3AU. For more information, visit kinshipinnature.com