Saturday 17th June
Here is a day that has been marked on my calendar for several months, but also a day that 2 years ago, I never have thought would have been marked on my calendar!
One Best Photo launched at Sherwood Pines.
What is One Best Photo?
This project came about through a partnership with myself and the Learning Rangers at Sherwood Pines. In 2015, I met the Rangers to talk about ways in which I am using technology outdoors on field trips to their forest. For several years I had been taking classes of Foundation Stage children (aged 4 – 5) and leading photography walks with them.
Children have access to cameras in devices and photography is huge part of their every day lives. We now have a responsibility to teach them camera skills and what it means to be a photographer. If we don’t, then this will continue to happen on our devices when our young learners use them…
Technology and the Outdoors.
Sometimes taking technology outside feels a little forced and for an unconfident teacher, it can make your toes curl in your shoes as you watch children use expensive equipment outside. I thought carefully about what adults use technology for outdoors and found that photography is the most natural link. With this idea, I began to design a photography walk through a forest where the teacher would focus on camera skills with their class:
- Clear, focused photographs
- Whole views
- Light and shadows
- Black and white / Colour
I took this early lesson design to the Learning Rangers at Sherwood Pines and they quickly saw a solution to a problem that they had been facing.
People, Wildlife and Timber
The Forestry Commission have 3 key principles when engaging with the public and that is to promote the relationship between people, wildlife and timber. They had been asking themselves how best they teach this relationship with learners aged 3 – 7 years. We quickly saw that photography would bring people, wildlife and timber to the lesson plan as children could tell the story of this relationship through their photography.
One Best Photo
This project was named One Best Photo and our vision was clear. We wanted children to better engage with and understand the relationship of people, wildlife and timber by taking their one best photo.
On a short forest walk, children look for what they think best shows this relationship. Their photographs will tell the story of the forest. The adults are there to help them capture their one best photo, they are teaching photography skills whilst the children document the story of the forest.
Forestry Commission Learning and Bushcraft Ranger, Emily Butt, says: “This was a fantastic opportunity to help more young people learn photography skills as well as discover what they can do in their local forests and woods. From cycling and walking to bushcraft and live music, Forestry Commission woodlands have activities for everyone.”
Parent, Sarah White, says: “This project is a lovely idea – creating budding wildlife stewards and photographers of the future.”
To celebrate all their hard work, children and their parents spent Saturday morning enjoying the photography display before heading deeper into Sherwood Pines for a bushcraft adventure led by a Forestry Commission Ranger. Children learnt how to build survival shelters and make fires, and finished off the afternoon toasting marshmallows.
The children’s photographs will be on display at Sherwood Pines until next year. From today, you are invited to use One Best Photo across the Forestry Commission sites in England.
Read and share the official One Best Photo press release from The Forestry Commission here.
Download One Best Photo from iTunes U (Free)