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PDF of the new Underwood Green Skills programme for 2016


Branching Out Mental Health Support (12 weeks*)

*Typically 1 day per week, 3 hours per day, over 12 weeks

In partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, we previously ran a mental health on referral program,
called 'Branching Out' primarily at two sites, Craufurdland Estate and Dumfries House Estate.

Recently, we have been using the woodlands at Ailsa Hospital and Auchinleck Estate to the run the programme.

The program is run on a referral basis, working with local support providers & NHS groups and is
run for 3 hours per week, over 12 weeks, in a woodland setting.

We tailor the acivities through discussion with the group and group leaders but it can be a general program
involving a range of activities from environmental art, shelter building, bushcraft, green woodwork, willow
work, identification & survey & activities like Tai Chi, again, in a woodland setting.

All the support sessions are run by EAW staff Mark Davies & Alison Calcott, who are both fully qualified &
experienced level 3 Forest School practitioners, qualified & experienced Branching Out leaders and currently
working towards a recognised qualification as bushcraft leaders.

There are two Branching Out projects confirmed for 2016/17, contact us for further information.

Branching Out 2016 information pdf HERE

Underwood Green Skills (1 day, 2 day & 4 day*)


*Typically 1 day per week, 3 hours per day, for the 4 week programme, though can be consecutive / flexible

Similar to Branching Out in terms of providing support for groups with mental health issues, learning disabilities
or addiction, we are implementing a new targeted 4 week program (3 hours per week) on specific topics, complimenting the seasons.

The programme is designed to compliment Branching Out and be a potential follow on project for those who wish to look at
some activities in greater depth and acquire more targeted skills.

The proposed program for 2014 will include the following, amongst others;

Rustic polytunnel construction
Willow harvest & structure building
Environmental art & creative writing
Introduction to bushcraft skills
Introduction to green woodworking
Seasonal tree identification & survey
Rustic & seasonal crafts

We have designed the new program to be flexible and staged progression of learning with the potential of bringing
in specialist tuition for one of the sessions or to run an extra session at another time for specialist tuition. We have also
allowed for the potential of an intensive 4 day block (monday - thursday) at some point in the year if required.

All the program will be based at our rustic cabin at Underwood, which is a lovely quiet, green area for learning and relaxation.
The basic cabin is suitable for groups up to 10 or so, is heated and is 50 yards away from kitchen, washing and toilet facilities

Some of the program (for example the willow harvest) will take place at our willow crop, approximately 6 miles away,
with one of the sessions being held at the cabin.

PDF of the new Underwood Green Skills programme for 2016

Forest School Practical Skills (1 day*)

*Typically 10am-2.30pm

The programme is designed mainly for teachers and group leaders but is open to all. There are 13 modules ranging from fire lighting,
tree identification and environmental art to health & safety, woodland survey and risk assessments.

The full programme can be found here

New Rustic Workshops (2016) 1 day*

*Typically 10am-2.30pm but flexible by arrangement

Includes willow craft, shabby chic rustic crafts, mindfulness, foraging, forest school skills & wood craving

Click image to open full pdf information


Underwood Green Skills Rustic Cabin

The cabin has been constructed with the funding support from Awards for All under the 'A place to learn & Create' project
and has provided valuable skills to our trainees, overseen by a local expert in timber construction and has allowed the
Underwood Green Skills project to develop and happen, which would not have been possible without their support.

All timber for the cabin came from our essential woodland management, with most processed on site by use of a mobile chainsaw
mill and transported back for construction. Overall, construction took about 3 months and gives us a valuable space for our
green woodwork & rustic construction activities, both with groups and as a valuable income. New outside seating areas have
been installed, feature willow fencing and archways, the tree nursery newly fenced off and the paths improved for better access.

We had an informal opening with our seasonal crafts stall on Saturday 7th December 2013

Start of cabin construction                                  

Wood stove installation                                                                                       Cabin after pole lathe installation    

Using solar power to provide 12v lighting                                                       Further enhancing the outdoor space as a resource for groups.

Discover a woodland work experience placement.........

***Please note, due to the nature of our work with limited resources, most of our opportunities
have to prioritise support groups. Should there be opportunities for voluntary work, these will
always be limited and there will be no transport available if work is to be on site***

The following summarises what we could previously offer, which may still be possible in future;

East Ayrshire Woodlands, offer a work experience programme to schools throughout Ayrshire,
which was restructured in 2006.
The work experience programme, which was previously offered through Careers Scotland, is now
overseen by Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce.

The weekly programme is aimed at pupils with a genuine interest in a conservation / countryside
management career and can be tailored to his / her individual interests.

The placements are designed to highlight and offer taster modules in a wide range of tasks and
activities that are part of a career in countryside management and to try and broaden the view that
a career in forestry is almost exclusively male oriented and involves the use of chainsaws and
heavy machinery.

This information, while primarily targeted at work experience pupils is also a useful guide for
those seeking volunteering opportunities.

*** Most of our volunteering opportunities over the winter months concentrate on harvesting
of the willow crop and traditional craft skills ***

The range of modules available are as follows;


Traditional Craft Skills

Traditional craft skills involve an introduction to coppicing techniques, particularly willow and hazel and how materials were
used to construct fences, screens, living archways, tunnels, domes or shelters. The module will also include harvesting techniques,
with cutting short rotation coppice, bundling and labelling. There may also be the opportunity to use traditional materials and
techniques in making creative, decorative items or simple furniture. 


Practical Woodland Management

Practical woodland management can involve anything from initial surveys or tree stocking density checks to planting and
maintenance of new trees, habitat or access enhancement or installing site furniture such as benches, waymarker posts or signs.   


Species and Woodland Survey

Species survey is a vital part of the management of a woodland, to monitor the success of habitat enhancement work or to
assess the biodiversity health of the woodland. This module offers basic training in identification and techniques of surveying
for: birds, wildflowers, trees and mammals.


Wildfower and Tree Propagation

East Ayrshire Woodlands manage a polytunnel where certain tree and wildflower species are grown in order to be used as
part of future site planting schemes and for community / education work.
This module involves the processes of seed collection, sowing, maintenance and site planting.


Event Design and Preparation

Events are one of the ways we communicate to the general public and promote our woodlands. This module involves preparation
work both in and out of the office, use of PC, printers and laminator and creative thinking.


Creative Woodland Interpretation

Interpretation is not always a flat panel or sign, and this module allows the most creativity and would be of particular interest
to art & design students. This module offers the opportunity to work to a specific project brief about one of our local woodland
sites, from producing creative initial ideas through to a final design in a range of media, which could include photography,
illustration, sculpture etc.There would be opportunities to create interpretation features during the placement, such as temporary
natural sculpture.

How the placement is structured

It is envisaged that most pupils would pick 5 out of 6 modules and spend one full day on each, though the placement is flexible and
could either allow an opportunity to experience all the 6 modules or concentrate on a single module for a specific week-long project.

What to do now?

If, after reading about our work experience placements, you have a genuine interest in finding out more, discuss this further with
your work experience co-ordinator and get them to contact us if you have any specific questions.