Natural Connexions

A combination of 'Wild Days in the City' & 'Wild Weekend Away' to develop self-confidence & positive relationships with support workers

Phase 1: A 2-day course in film-making and bush craft for children and their Connexions Key Workers, Boiling Wells (June 2010)

See Nature is Watching

See Vox Pops

This project weaved together bush craft and film-making workshops in a wild green space within inner city Bristol.  It catered for twenty children who have support in school from Connexions Engagement workers and was designed to develop confidence, self-esteem and positive relationships between young people and their support workers.  Film students made a film Nature is Watching about the meeting of the grey and the green in a city, and also conducted Vox Pops evaluation interviews with the bush craft students. This 2-day event evidenced the change in attitude of young people when in an ‘outdoor classroom’ using creativity to learn new skills and inspire self-expression.

Phase 2: Wild Park Days

Inspired by Phase 1, the group decided to spend one Friday a month in natural sites within Bristol to give the Connexions engagement workers further experience in working in natural spaces with their client groups.  The Park Days enabled an understanding of how easy it is to access beautiful, fun natural spaces near to where they lived.  The learning elements also included an understanding of trees and the eco system and how to play freely and safely in nature. 

Phase 3: A Wild Two Days Away

By the following February half term the Natural Connexions project felt ready to take 30 children & young people aged 8 – 12 on a two-day survival camp.  All the children had issues around attendance and/or failing to thrive in education but when given a creative brief to explore the woods and make art, offered forest school survival workshops and team-building activities they all showed huge motivation to engage in learning.  Being away for a longer period of time together allowed them to get to know and build up respect for each other and with the group coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds, the trip also built up cultural understanding and respect.  

“It makes me feel like I’m a different person. I don’t have to try and impress people with the way I look or how I act around them. I can just be myself, let loose and try new things. Get in touch with what’s here and what’s natural, not all this man made electrical stuff.”
Participant, 15, Film-Making & Bushcraft at Boiling Wells