Members from the school Eco Council, made up of representatives from all year groups, enjoyed their first group stay at Bod Silyn cottage where they worked together to achieve their John Muir Awards and their Junior Forester’s Awards.
Carrying full rucksacks, they forged new friendships as they explored the fringes of Snowdonia National Park before establishing a camp and cooking food over a campfire. They spent the evening star gazing and identifying some of the constellations that they would be sleeping under and learning about the history of Bod Silyn. Sam, a year 12 student really enjoyed his time at Bod Silyn, he said, “The cottage is cool and I loved cooking over the fire. “
The following day they learnt how to use a bow saw and a pruning saw safely as they helped to clear some rhododendron and other invasive species. They also built a sawhorse and learnt how to tie knots and make lashings in the process. Year 9 student, Nell, found the practical elements fun, she said “I liked clearing the bushes and using the saws.”
During the two days, students worked hard to increase their knowledge and understanding of the natural environment which resulted in them achieving the John Muir Award, which encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places by completing four challenges that lie at the heart of the award: Discover, Explore, Conserve, Share.
Due to their practical pruning and conservation efforts, they also completed their Junior Forester Award, which gives children and young people an insight into a career in Forestry, as well as the practical ability to assist in woodland management in their schools and local communities. These new-found skills will help the Eco Council members with their aim to improve the school environment and re-establish Ysgol Aberconwy as an Eco School.
Mr Colin O’Rourke, Director of Learning – Outdoor Learning said, “The pupils enjoyed exploring the school’s land and cottage and had a great time. They will take home some great memories and a few blisters! I look forward to taking the lower school Eco Council to Bod Silyn, with a few of the older pupils as helpers.”
It seems that the students are equally keen to return, with year 11 student, Kieran saying that he wanted to go back and help out with the lower school Eco Council visit too.