Learn more: presentation sessions


Learning outdoors

Sally York, Education Policy Advisor, Forestry Commission Scotland and Morag Muschate, Pupils Support Assistant and Carrie Quine, Lead Teacher, A Farm in the School, Inverness High School

Learning outdoors, be this in streets, playgrounds, parks or natural environments, actively engages young people and connects their broader learning with the world around them. Over the last 20 years, Forestry Commission Scotland has introduced Forest School and developed Forest Kindergarten courses for education practitioners.  Building on this experience, the Outdoor & Woodland Learning Scotland (OWLS) network of local groups helps to link people involved in learning outdoors together to run events including training programmes for teachers. This session will explore these concepts using A Farm in the School at Inverness High School as a live case study. Here pupils are encouraged to learn outdoors, to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs. We are also addressing and raising awareness of the declining Bumble Bee Population through ‘Operation Pollination’ by growing lots of wildflowers to feed the bees and other pollinators. Pupils fund this through Enterprise projects.


The healing power of greenspace

Katherine Irvine, Senior Researcher – Environment, Wellbeing and Sustainable Behaviour, The James Hutton Institute and Rania Qussasi, YS Coordinator, Young Saheliya

This session will focus on the health and wellbeing aspects of greenspace. The Green Health project, which has been led by the James Hutton Institute, has explored the relationship between greenspace and people’s health and wellbeing. The research findings show that regular use of urban green and open spaces can contribute to public health and wellbeing, particularly mental wellbeing due, for example, to social contact or meaningful engagement with the environment. Additional related research has found that local people are keen to participate in decisions about their local greenspaces and to be involved in ongoing maintenance of these places.  Saheliya’s Community Garden in Glasgow was built in 2016 with funding from the Climate Challenge Fund.  It was built on a small piece of vacant and derelict land which was further developed in 2017 with funding, design and technical support provided by: the Climate Challenge Fund, Transform Fund and Royal Horticultural Society’s Greening Grey Britain campaign.  Over 50 BEM girls and women (many of whom have come to Scotland to escape wars, exploitation and violence) have helped create this garden ‘oasis’  giving participants a sense of community, individual worth, renewed purpose and nutritious produce. 


Greenspace as a training opportunity

Colin Higgins, YES Works Manager, Young Enterprise Scotland and Alan Forrester, Project Manager, Scottish Waterways Trust

Our session on training uses the experiences of two very successful programmes to explore how to reach, support and train young people who (because of a range of issues) are furthest from the world of employment. Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) has been working for 40 years to inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed through enterprise. The YES Academy, based at Rouken Glen Park, offers specific training for unemployed, 18 to 25 year olds from Greater Glasgow. Through a new social business, YES Works, landscape gardening services are provided to local authorities, housing associations, businesses and private homes in the West of Scotland.  With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funders, Canal College, designed and run by the Scottish Waterways Trust, delivers training programmes in Falkirk, West Dumbarton and Inverness for 16 -30 year old, unemployed young people.  The programme offers participants the opportunity to earn a variety of qualifications, certificates and awards including SQA Awards in Cultural Heritage Award and Working Safely, as well as gaining practical work experience.  The ‘college’ is the canals which are Scheduled Ancient Monuments and where the youngsters carve a future from the past.


Having impact as a young professional

Heather Claridge, Senior Project Officer, Glasgow City Council, Lisa Proudfoot, Planning Consultant, Montagu Evans and Jay Skinner, Graduate Planner, Fife Council

Studying is over and it’s time to think about full-time work but what’s it like for young people entering the world of the built environment professions. Are you concerned about being taken seriously? Do your older colleagues respect you views and ideas? Representing the young professional groups in the Academy of Urbanism and the Royal Town Planning Institute, this session will build on the experiences of three young professionals currently working in the public sector and the private sector in Scotland. In this session you will learn what you can do to be seen, to be heard and to make an impact.


The relevance of play for children and their parents - tackling fears, providing challenge  

Rebecca O’Berg, Strategic Lead: Play & Early Years, Eureka! The National Children's Museum and Grace Lamont, Head of Play Services at Jeely Piece Club

Children now spend less than half the time their parents did playing outdoors.  In part this is around availability of parental time but is also linked to parental fears around child safety.  During the school summer holidays of 2014, Eureka! The National Children's Museum, based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, conducted a survey of over 2,500 children aged 5-11 years and adults to find answers to a range of questions around play and its role in the lives and development of children today. This workshop will explore some of the findings and possible answers from this research and consider how projects like the Jeely Piece Club in Glasgow’s Castlemilk area, demonstrate quite clearly how play, especially in the outdoors, is improving the lives and life chances of children and benefitting their parents and the wider community.


How young people can help older people access the outdoors

Christine Bell of Cycling Without Age Scotland and volunteer Daniel Porter, Head Boy at Larbert High School

The Cycling Without Age concept was founded in Denmark in 2012 by Dorthe Pedersen and Ole Kassow. The duo wanted to help elderly people get back on their bicycles, but they had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and they started offering free bike rides to the residents of local nursing homes. Following a successful pilot phase in 2016/17 brought to Falkirk by Communities Along the Carron Association, the group are now being funded by the Scottish Government to extend Cycling Without Age over the whole of Scotland. This work shop will explain the many benefits of the programme to the young(er) volunteer cyclists and their passengers, and look at how nursing homes, city councils and voluntary groups can all get engaged in running programmes like this to get younger and older people engaged in outdoor activities.


Designing for and with children

Felicity Steers, CMLI, Director and Murray McKellar ARB, Associate, ERZ

The award-winning landscape practice erz has developed considerable experience in designing outdoor spaces for and with children, including nurseries, primary schools, community gardens and hospitals.  This workshop provides an opportunity to learn how and when to engage children and young people in the design process to create meaningful and valued spaces which maximise health, learning and social outcomes for children, and their parents, teachers and carers. Felicity and Murray from erz are currently developing the outdoor design for the East Ayrshire Council prototype nursery for the Scottish Futures Trust with Norr Architects. They were also the team behind the multi-award winning Arcadia Nursery at Edinburgh University.