09 Oct CEIAG: The Forestry Commission Work Experience
This October, two of our students, Rory C. and Harry H., have had a great opportunity to do a weeks Work Experience with The Forestry Commission. Here is now they got on…
Diary entry for Day 1 of The Forestry Commission work experience.
Our two boy seemed keen to take part in the activities. They learnt how to make and start a fire, within safe limits. Birch (Forestry Commission helper) then put a kettle on the fire to make hot chocolate for all the teachers as the boys didn’t want any. He also roasted some marshmallows, which the grown-ups enjoyed.
The boys then built a shelter out of logs, string and tarpaulin. One boy showed good leadership skills as he had done forest school before, so felt comfortable showing the other two the ropes.
They worked great together to achieve a good shelter but became frustrated when it collapsed. Birch was straight over there and discussed where they think, they went wrong and diffused the frustration.
They then went to the Natural England site and the boys learnt about all the big equipment they use and its purpose. They all sat in the tractor, hunted for grass snakes and had a good talk with Tom about tomorrows activities.
They were all very well behaved, and said they enjoyed it.
Diary entry for Day 2 Work Experience – Natural England
What a lovely day for some tree clearance in the forest.
So everyone, including the teachers, got stuck into the clearance of Oak and Ash trees in the forest. Once we arrived at the site in the forest, we had a talk from Alice James – Senior Reserve Manager – about the activity. Then Tom – Reserve Manager, went through Health and Safety of the equipment and correct usage. A fire had already been prepared for the all the wood we were going to cut down and burn.
The students really mucked in and although we had a new additional student today, it did not affect the ‘dynamics’ of the group, which was excellent. They worked in pairs, one having the bow saw and the other the loppers. They all then decided to saw down one of the biggest trees in the vicinity, which took a bit of work, but they all worked well together.
Alice was impressed with the manners and respect of the students. She spoke to the students about her journey into her current job role and her experience of education. She said to some students ‘sometimes you need to just knuckle down to get your grades. It will only be for a short time’. She spoke to the students about their aspirations for the future. She spoke to two of the students about taking on potential employees, and that she prefers someone who is keen and enthusiastic about the job, then maybe someone with a degree, who has no drive. Alice said the day went better than she expected as she had not done a work experience programme with any schools before.
Natural England were brilliant hosts and a lot of fun. They gave us tea/coffee and biscuits, whilst in the forest and laid out some camping chairs for us all to sit on. Megan and Birch from the Forestry Commission also came over to help out, for the day and so did the 3 dogs, Larna, Weston and Ned!
Diary entry for Day 3 Work Experience
It was truly lovely to be outdoors today.
The day started with Megan and Birch – Recreation Rangers, taking us through their ‘Recreation Checks’ at the Wyre Forest Site. Megan has to check for wobbly signs and make sure that the screw covers are on. She has to check for falling or dead overhanging branches, check the benches are safe, and check the playground equipment. She showed us the chart she completes and gives, each job, a level from 1-5 (1 being the most urgent) and signs the jobs off when complete. So we went round checking all the above and making Megan aware of any issues.
We also had to deconstruct any shelters, around the site, that would attract any health and safety issues to the members of the public. ‘Culverts’ or (drainage ditches) were checked and there were 2 that needed attention, so, using forks and spades, we dug the tunnel free from soil, just in time for the downpour, that is due from Friday onwards!
Birch came across an overhanging branch about 20 foot up a tree. He then went and got an extended saw and some safety equipment and demonstrated how the branch should be dealt with. We looked on, in admirable envy.
After lunch we were shown the ‘Death Shed’ and the Deer Museum. This is where taxidermy has been showcased, with many varieties of birds, badgers, owls ,foxes and deer. No animals were harmed during the writing of this blog! All animals had already died, due to many natural cases.
We were given information packs about Careers in the Forestry Commission, a leaflet about different trees and a certificate for completing the course from Mandy one of the Rangers. A thank you was given to all the Forestry Commission staff.