Students see Storm Arwen devastation first-hand

Students will see first-hand the devastation caused by Storm Arwen on local woodland when they take part in a programme with Rusland Horizons.

A group of 15 Furness College students will be venturing into the Rusland Valley next term to explore and gain an understanding of the environment and how it changes with the forces of nature.

Over the next year there will be spaces for 45 students to be invited by Rusland Horizons to enjoy six days of woodland work experience including a two-night residential in the heart of the valley, in a project funded by almost £10,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Lecturer Jenny Holden-Wilde, who teaches on the animal management course at sixth form and is also a Director of Rusland Horizons, said they will undertake tasks such woodland assessment, tracking wildlife and dry-stone walling during the programme.

“We want our students to have the chance to explore and experience, and gain an understanding of, a natural environment which few will have had the opportunity to access.

“The recent storm has shown how a woodland can change overnight and they will be able to observe what actions need to be taken, if any, to retain the unique ecosystem of this area.

“After the pressures of the last 18 months, we hope that these mindful experiences and connection to the natural world outside the classroom environment will aid the healing process and increase positivity and there is also an important fit with environmental awareness and COP 26.”

The programme follows a successful pilot last summer where six students from a range of college courses, took part in a four-day woodland experience as part of the Broadening Horizons project. This was the college’s first tangible step into its work with the world-famous Eden Project teaching students about their impact on the world and what they can do to drive positive change.

A film, produced by Barrow Film-maker Rachel Capovila and funded by UCLAN, is available to watch on the Rusland Horizons website, giving an insight into the experience of the students who took part in June 2021.

The first trip this year is on January 17th and will be followed by two further woodland experience events, open to all students across both the Channelside and Sixth Form campuses. Interested students should talk to their personal progress coach.

Furness College’s innovative new partnership with the Eden Project North, based across Morecambe Bay, includes offering traineeships – and future apprenticeships – to support young people into work.

The college, in Barrow, is partnering with Lancaster and Morecambe College and Myerscough on schemes for students to participate in crucial community-based projects enhancing their citizenship, entrepreneurial skills and their knowledge and understanding of sustainability.

The traineeships can last from six weeks up to 12 months and are available across a wide range of sectors. They provide those aged 16-24, with unpaid work experience opportunities and clear progression pathways onto apprenticeships as well as further and higher education.

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