Meet the Education Team
I have worked part time at the Sustainability Centre for the education department over the last 4 years. I also teach the adult willow courses on site and love using the centre’s own willow grown as part of their WET system. The mix of activities, small businesses, volunteer and user groups here always inspire me.
Most of the time I am actively teaching school children on day visits or as part of their residential stay exploring sustainable and environmental themes. One day I might be building clay ovens, sandbag arches and shelters and another day pond dipping, mini-beast hunting and exploring the native chalk grassland habitats. I also assist in the education office with all the programming and administration of visits.
I originally trained in dance with a liberal arts degree and have always been very active. I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and spent several years teaching in community arts. Running a school gardening club when my own children were little really opened my eyes to the benefits of outdoor learning.
Camping and hiking where a key part of my childhood that I took for granted. Later I worked as an Education Ranger for the Forestry Commission and spent 7 years learning, teaching and playing with all ages in a stimulating woodland setting. I never tire of the lessons nature shares with us.
As an allotment holder, bee keeper and chicken owner, I try to combine ideas from forest gardening, no dig growing and permaculture into my own ‘gardening’.
As a basket maker and willow weaver I know the therapeutic and expressive benefits of creative activities and try to promote sustainable crafts wherever possible.
Stefan is the newest member of our education team. He works with all of our school visits and all ages. He teaches school children on day visits or as part of their residential stay exploring sustainable and environmental themes. He also builds clay ovens, sandbag arches and shelters. You will find him running pond dipping sessions, mini-beast hunts and exploring the native chalk grassland habitats. He is also one of our tutors leading night walks and evening activities.
I have been Head of Education at the Centre for 17 years and I love having this opportunity to work outside the classroom, encouraging interest in and respect for the environment, whilst promoting enjoyment of outdoor activities.
It is important to me that we bring the many aspects of our eco-topic alive for our young visitors, many of whom are from very diverse backgrounds. It is also crucial that they have fun while they are learning so that they can take positive memories away with them. Above all, the lasting impact of their visit to us comes from the hands-on, practical nature of all our work in the outdoor classroom.
I joined the Centre in 2001 and immediately became part of the team that helped to create the Centre in its many aspects. In particular I led the setting up and running of the Education service which has now grown from a handful of visits in 2002, to a thriving service with 14 staff and freelance teaching staff today. In 2016 I was particularly pleased that we obtained the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge for our residential and day visits and also for our special service to children who struggle at school and those excluded from mainstream schooling.
I have a BA Hons degree in Textile Design and BADA diploma in Ceramics and Glass conservation, I became a qualified Forest School Level 3 Leader in 2010 and I have also taken County Outdoor Leader Open Country training for off-site visits. I obtained my Permaculture Design Certificate in 2015, and as a result am interested in sharing Permaculture ideas with children and also and in working on group dynamics with a Permaculture focus.
As a leader I enjoy sharing my knowledge, creating a sense of fun and a spirit of adventure and watching the pupils develop their skills and their confidence during their stay with us. I believe children learn best when all their senses are engaged. As a Manager I also have a commitment to ensuring that schools learning objectives are met and pupils are safe while they are on site with us.
With 17 years of experience of working with the under 18's in an outdoor setting I am confident that we can provide inspiring activities that are also safely managed and I look forward to our continued success as a popular and established Learning Centre and leader in Sustainability Education for schools.
Outdoor Learning Specialist
I have worked at the centre for 17 years. Initially as a volunteer; I now teach woodland and wilderness survival skills to adults and children. I have completed courses in the NCFE Advanced Bushcraft Award, Forest School, NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Creative Craft, and I have extensive Tracking training. My skills include shelter building, fire lighting, navigation, tool work, facilitating team building games and sensory awareness.
I specialise in working with hard to reach young people including those with emotional needs, learning difficulties or problems with drugs and alcohol abuse and offending behaviour. Students on the verge of exclusion at School or having problems with an academic approach to learning, flourish with their time spent learning outdoor skills at The Centre. Groups that I have worked with include local Secondary Schools, the Adoption Service and West Sussex County Council.
My favourite part of my role is seeing the young people I work with gain in confidence and self esteem. I also offer team building days to businesses and organisations.
Amongst the wide range of activities I enjoy passing on my enthusiasm for discovering new and creative ways to engage people with exciting solutions to environmental issues. I also love a good singsong around a campfire!
I have City & Guilds Level 2 teacher training and experience of working in a college with students with mental health and severe learning difficulties. I have also completed Forest School Level 3 and Outdoor Leader training.
I spent 2 years living and working on volunteer programmes in South and central America, including conservation projects in the Guatemalan Rainforest, and an Environmental Centre in Bolivia, where I first learnt about sustainable building techniques and Permaculture. I have studied Permaculture Design and Ecovillage Design covering the social, economic, environmental and world view aspects of Sustainability. I also have a degree in Art Design and Media, and I enjoy bringing this creativity to the learning experience.