seeing the woods: Environmental Perception for Educators TBC

Date to be confirmed

9.30 - 4.30


£85 / 95 / 125*

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Seeing the woods: Environmental perception for educators.

“A chorus of living wood sings to the woman: if your mind were only a slightly greener thing, we’d drown you in meaning”.
~ Richard Powers: The Overstory

Nature-based learning outdoors has many objectives and outcomes, but at its core is how and what we perceive as we move out into our environment. As educators, much of our role is in ‘pointing out’, directing or facilitating discovery. To borrow a phrase coined by J.J. Gibson, it is an education of attention.

This course seeks to explore insights as to how and what children and adults perceive in their environment, and how we, as educators, might use those insights to foster meaningful learning experiences. Considerations of perception and behaviour are particularly useful for the observation and interpretation of children’s play outdoors.

During this course we will cover the following:

• Based on an ecological psychology approach, we will consider the affordances of the more-than-human world, and how this approach conveys meaning to our interactions.
• Participants will be introduced to research and theory that supports a relational perspective, fundamental to ecological, sustainable thinking.
• Simple activities will allow for reflective appreciation of our own perception, bringing ‘nature awareness’ to the foreground. These activities can be adapted to suit a variety of applications as part of an educator’s toolkit.
• The opportunity for participants to further explore, and enjoy, their personal theoretical foundation for learning and being in nature.
Although the course has a light philosophical and theoretical approach, no previous study is required.


Tom Wigston has spent over 25 years working in the outdoor and environmental education sector, enabling people of all ages to access the benefits that experiences in nature have to offer. Tom first trained as an Environmental Educator in North America and developed his skills as a facilitator and trainer through working for organisations back in the UK. Tom spent several years in a senior role with the Devon County Council Outdoor Service developing outdoor programmes, managing outdoor centres, and delivering training. He is a qualified teacher, Forest School leader and Bushcraft Instructor and carries several other outdoor leadership qualifications and accreditation. Tom has recently completed a master’s degree in education, pursuing his keen interest in the academic and philosophical exploration of outdoor learning and human-environment relationships.


Please bring Packed lunch (tea & coffee provided)
Warm / waterproof clothing and boots/trainers
Notebook & pen


No refunds or credits for cancellations <28 days - see our terms & conditions for details

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