15th November 2018 – Meeting Minutes

Thursday 15th November 2018 10.30am

RHS Hyde Hall

Chair:              Karen Wheeler KWh (Lee Valley (LV))

Minutes:          Michelle Mandry MM (Daws Hall / Essex Outdoors (EO))

Attendees:       Jill Baker JB (RHS); Terry Halls TH (EO); Jenna Cains JC (Wilderness Foundation (WF)); Stephen Andrews SC (Wat Tyler (WT)); Anna Gordon AG (EWT); Martin Edwards ME (WT); Hannah Garnham HG (EO); Louise Chamberlaine (RHS); Sarah White (Freelance); Kelly-Sue Axford (LV); Jane Curtis (LVP) ; Karen Watson KWa (Barleylands); Michelle Hopkins MH (Country Parks); Alistair McRae (WT); Charlotte Banks (RHS).

  1. Apologies
    Louise Flavell LF (CP); Laura Harvey (EWT); Ellie Henderson (Anglian Water); Tiffany Belford-Fry (WT)

  2. 2018 Conference
    KWh thanked Stephen and the committee for their work on the 2018 conference which was unfortunately cancelled due to insufficient numbers. At meeting earlier in the morning, the committee acknowledged the need to get dates and promotional material out to schools, teachers and other interested parties much earlier for 2019. It was also agreed that preparations for a conference in 2020 would be made at the same time.
    All now looked forward to the question of a 2019 conference and comment was invited discussion on the following committee proposals: (outcome in blue)
    1. Centrally located annual conferences in 2019 & 2020: autumn 2019 at RHS Hyde Hall – save the date promotion to go out in January. Autumn 2020 conference at Essex Outdoors Danbury – preparations to be commence early 2019.
    1. Smaller training sessions at outlier locations, e.g., Lee valley (west), Wat Tyler (south), Daws Hall (north), east – Country Parks?
    1. More & better promotion – better quality materials, issue of certificates of attendance. Other suggestions invited. KWa: Getting to conferences/training/workshops etc., during school can be difficult. Barleylands found workshops with a champagne cream tea were not being booked this year.  However, Saturday morning sessions are/can be very popular.
  • Future training sessions
    It would be a good idea to map out the year with a schedule of meetings+training dates and topics.
    • KWh is following up on the possibility of a ‘challenging behaviour’ workshop with Jon Cree and also Ecotherapy with Beth Collier. As there are significant costs attached to these – we could consider requesting a small contribution from participants.

Action: KWh to contact Helen FSC re ecotheraphy and chase up Jon Cree re workshop.

  • Other suggestions included:
    • Plant and invertebrate id – the FSC are happy to run this at their Epping centre. Date agreed: 4th April 2019

Action: KW to contact FSC and confirm can proceed with the 4th. Ask them to provide a paragraph on activities and update members/website.

  1. Natural cordage – TH would be happy to offer this at Danbury in July (nettles)

Action: TH to confirm details see below

  1. Astronomy – SA and MH will liaise re dates & location; afternoon meeting & Twilight session Date agreed: 22nd January 2019

Action: SA, JC and MH to confirm details see below

  • Action: Please email KWh by 14th December, with dates, a paragraph description, and instructions re place, time, directions, parking, and lunch/refreshments – bring/on site availability. Plus cc Luke Blundell into the email so he can put it on the website.
  • Websiteupdate
    Action: All please check your organisation’sdetails on the website; if you have any changes/updates please send directly to lblundell@vibrantpartnerships.co.uk.The website also needs content; please send anyevents, dates, and news
    • Freelancersare currently on ‘Members’ page – should they be on the providers’ page? SW(freelancer) unconcerned –

Action: KWh will contact Justine Page (freelancer) for her view.

  • How easy is it for people to find the website through a search engine, by looking for ‘school visits’ for example? Depends on usage, word tags and promotion

Action: KWh to contact Luke to check whether website can be optimised in searches and whether we can remove the link to the old web page so it doesn’t come up in searches

  • Members update

KWh gave an update on key lessons learned from the UK Outdoor Learning Conference she attended as a member of the Institute of Outdoor Learning. The Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres is keen to gain new members and KWh will send further info on their offer when received.

  • Next Meeting

22nd January 2019 + Beginners’ Astronomy – Wilderness Foundation, Whitbreads Farm lane, Chatham Green, CM3 3FE.     3-6pm for the training session. Teas/coffees will be provided.