TV naturalist praises ‘innovative’ outdoor learning in Sheffield

Thursday 12th October 2017

Nick Bakers visits our Greno Woods Academy of DangerNick Bakers visits our Greno Woods Academy of Danger

BBC One’s The Really Wild Show presenter Nick Baker has praised Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s new ‘Academy of Danger’ for schools – which has been made possible thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Nick Baker visits our Academy of DangerThe well-known TV naturalist, writer and The Wildlife Trusts Vice President helped Year 5 pupils from Grenoside Primary in Sheffield tackle the Greno Woods obstacle course - an epic, muddy kilometre packed full of team challenges, including ‘The Bog of Doom’, ‘Electric Wires’ and ‘The Tightrope of Terror’, at the Trust’s Greno Woods nature reserve.

"It's so much more than PE in the woods", Nick said, dripping with mud and sporting a huge grin. "We can all learn outside - the Academy of Danger proves that.

“It is so important to get children connecting with nature on a regular basis. It’s been proven to have both mental and physical benefits as well as improving confidence and self-awareness.”

Nick Baker visits our Academy of Danger

Nick’s visit was part of a UK-wide tour to showcase a range of innovative approaches being taken to outdoor learning in schools. As part of his visit to Sheffield, Nick also heard from teachers at Oughtibridge, Grenoside and Lound primary schools about how learning outdoors has helped pupils at their schools improve concentration, social skills and learning outcomes.

Phil Tuffin, Year 6 Leader at Grenoside Primary School, previewed the course for the Trust earlier in 2017: “It really reinforced the school’s core values of resilience, resourcefulness and determination. We wanted the children to have this experience because we know how engaged they become with tasks out in the wild, and we know that they take this positive attitude back to their work in the classroom and attack their school work with renewed vigour.”

Nick Baker visits our Greno Woods Academy of Danger

Chris Smith, Senior Outdoor Learning Officer at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, and the brains behind the Academy of Danger, said: “It’s great that The Outdoor City can offer all schoolchildren the chance to have a go at a muddy obstacle course race similar to the Mini Mudder or the Spartan Junior Race.

“The Academy of Danger helps them learn to take risks, to face challenges that build their resilience and most of all to work as a team. Every time we run the Academy of Danger we see kids stopping to help each other and generally putting someone else first, even though it’s a competitive environment. On top of that, they come out very muddy and buzzing with excitement!”

Schools can find out more about the Academy of Danger at wildsheffield.com/schools