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Inspiring kids and communities with nature in urban Manchester

A Forest Schools project centred on the Moston Fairway nature reserve inspires Moston and Newton Heath communities to come together and engage with nature.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is working in Moston and Newton Heath through the Moston Brook Partnership with Manchester and Oldham councils. With support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, there has been a real boost to community engagement with a Forest Schools project centred on the Trust’s Moston Fairway nature reserve.

Forest Schools

TV presenter and Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts vice-president Nick Baker came along to Moston, Manchester, in mid-July and was amazed at the environmental engagement in this urban community.

Nick met the children, teachers, and enthusiastic local people who have been driving the start of something special in the area around Moston Fairway nature reserve.

"The enthusiasm, sense of momentum, and community spirit has been overwhelming. This is what it’s all about, opening up our natural world to young enthusiasm and inspiring kids to love learning and being outdoors" - Nick Baker

Broadhurst Primary, St Mary’s CE Primary, Crab Lane Primary, and Bowker Vale Primary were celebrating the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Forest Schools project supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

This project has given Moston Fairway a massive boost, brought a whole new group of kids and families into contact with the reserve, and generated amenities and partnerships that will mean community engagement goes from strength to strength for the future.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester and other guests

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Paul Murphy OBE, has been an enthusiastic supporter of this and related projects in his role as chair of the Moston Brook Partnership between Manchester and Oldham councils.

The University of Manchester associate dean for social responsibility, Professor Amanda Bamford, praised the Forest Schools project. “Nick Baker and I have been inspired talking to the children and adults here, this is a flagship scheme which I’m proud to promote to the people of Manchester”.

Forest Schools use learning activities and play in woodland to engage children with the outdoors and nature, to get them fit and active, and to boost their creativity and confidence. Moston Fairway is a unique oasis in Manchester that is an ideal location for Forest Schools.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust has trained a dozen teachers here in Moston as newly accredited Forest Schools practitioners to establish an independently sustainable cluster. Visit the Moston Fairway reserve page for more information on the rare wildlife and how to find the site. The reserve is free to visit and always open.

Nick Baker pond dipping with the kids

This article was originally published here for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust on Greater Manchester's Platform sustainability portal

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