A Little Note from our Director, Tom

Its weird, the new normal

I hope you are well, I want a pound for every time I’ve said or heard ‘its weird’. I don’t think there is anything that I can write that begins to make sense of it all, all of our perceptions of ‘normal’ have been challenged.

Like everyone in the UK that has a garden I’ve been busy, lucky me. Just before lock down I moved house from an apartment with no garden, my heart really goes out to those that have very little or no private outdoor space. For me this highlights the importance of Forest School, to have woodland open to all, not just that, you are encouraged to come and play, explore, make friends, get creative and of course muddy, I really hope that it’s not long before we can return to the Forest Schools, even if it’s with some safety precautions.

With my two boys in lock down it has been tough, but getting out into some nature helps shake off the cabin fever and helps me forget why I was so irritated. I try my best but I’m just not a child, that peer on peer interaction is so important for their development, children need children. We all need nature. Its been all too easy to normalise going to the woods to play, and yes I’ve read the books and understand its importance, but sometimes its takes something like this to re-ignite the flame and feel it in your bones.

During this time I have been immensely proud of our staff, they have really stepped up to the mark, thinking on their feet of what they can do to help and ensure that everybody remains safe. Despite all the difficulties morale has been high, I’ve enjoyed the banter and seeing so many smiley people through my computer screen. Working from home has had some real benefits and its really made me re-think my fuel consumption and how we can design the business to be part of the low carbon economy. I really think it’s time re-imagine and change this gas guzzling infatuated paradigm. Walking along the country roads in the strict lock down my nose was delighted as the scent of the hay meadows powerfully engulfs me in its perfume, its already diminishing as we are told to return to work.

Our Adult Training Team are currently busy planning a brand-new course aimed at schools learning beyond the classroom. As ‘normal’ schools re-open I really hope they look at their open spaces with new eyes, even if to begin with its to support social distancing measures, but I think they will soon realise a whole host of other benefits and that this pandemic is a catalyst for change and that learning outside is our new ‘normal’.

So here’s to a brighter future, where we constantly challenge our ‘normal’, a future of less pollution and more time shared together in nature. I look forward to our next encounter in the woods, stay safe.

Tom 😉

Author: Tom Lowday, Director at The Outdoors Group

Date: 26th May 2020

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