Education Update

Students peer into a butterfly net, outdoors at Wytham Woods

Our Youth Educator in Residence, Kim Polgreen, has run a wide range of activities: a Youth Summer School for Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute; a Green Careers Fair at the Hill End Outdoor Education Centre; 'Wytham Wild Camp', a holiday day camp for 9 – 11 year olds; work experience weeks for groups of year 10 and year 12 students from local schools; fieldwork for a growing number of schools including residential events; an experience day for geography students the Opportunity Oxford programme, one of Oxford’s fantastic access programmes; walks and camp fire events for refugee groups and other groups brought by local charities; and with a Blenheim Community Grant, wellbeing and enrichment events for The Cherwell School. And thanks to a Community Interest Levy grant, Kim and Nigel have also been helping local schools improve their grounds for biodiversity and student wellbeing.

In an exciting new project, the DToL team have been running a series of BugBlitz workshops at the Woods. Children from schools across Oxford have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the splendour of Wytham woods whilst learning a variety of scientific skills and insect-related knowledge. Children have loved searching for insects to examine how they have adapted to survive and thrive in their environment, learning how to capture, inspect and identify moths, and using scientific microscopes to study and classify insect specimens. The BugBlitz workshops aim to inspire scientists and conservationists of the future, imbue in children a respect and understanding of the importance of insect life, promote connections between researchers and primary school children whilst weaving aspects of the primary science curriculum into an inspiring and fun learning experience.  

Dr Robin Wilson, creator of the Oxford University Kilns project and the Wytham Studio also does fantastic work with schools. We host a range of week-long schools placements for individuals in printmaking, ceramics and cultural studies, having in the past taken students from as far away as Cornwall LEA.  As the Wytham Studio, resident artists, Rosie Fairfax-Cholmeley and Robin offer regular day-long linocut printmaking, T-Shirt printing and poster-making workshops for local state secondary schools. Using our range of historic 19th century presses, we teach all the skills to make prints both in the Woods and off-site in school art departments. The Japanese ceramics kilns holds schools workshops in clay-building and pottery throwing across London, Birmingham and Oxfordshire using academic staff from Anthropology, Art, Craft and Design departments based in Oxford and University of Arts, London as part of a regular programme of Raku firings, pit-firing and Japanese firings at the Wytham Woods Kilnsite in which young people participate alongside some of the most exciting international potters. Our current exhibition which includes the work of young potters is hosted by Harris Manchester College, Oxford, and previously ran in the Embassy of Japan gallery in Piccadilly between October 2021 and January 2022.