Introducing Alice Parker, RFS Education Officer
I have always had a love for the outdoors especially woodlands. I find them such a calming and beautiful environment. After teaching primary for 6 years, I decided to take a career change and qualify as a Forest School Leader. During this time I formed a Forest School with a friend. It was an amazing experience, and I knew that I wanted to do more. I saw an advert for the Royal Forestry Society as an Education Officer. I applied, I had no idea they would hire me as I thought I would not have enough experience but my enthusiasm and ideas for the role shone through.
As an Education Officer for Staffordshire, I work with children from all over the county. I visit schools and their woodlands as well as giving them the opportunity to visit some of our members woodlands. We have a scheme of work which the school can choose from. We also offer a Junior Forester Award which is one of my personal favorites to teach.
My job encompasses two of my greatest passions, teaching and being outside in the woodlands. Giving children the opportunity to thrive where they may be struggling inside a mainstream classroom is very fulfilling. My favorite part of the role is teaching children about woodland management, climate change and forestry careers. Without the role of the EO many of the target children we work with would never come across this information. The excitement on a child’s face when they visit the woodland for the first time is priceless. We also support the children to have a hands-on experience of battling climate change on school sites by assisting them planting trees. Watching children’s knowledge develop and inspiring the wonder of trees is a real delight.
I feel my job is helping to tackle climate change. I encourage schools across Staffordshire to plant trees on their school sites. We are arming the children of today with knowledge about climate change and how to future proof our woodlands. We help children to connect with the environment and develop a love for nature. Fostering a real enjoyment of the outdoors. The future of our woodlands lies in the hands of the children of today. We need to share our knowledge of woodland management with them and foster a desire to care for our woodlands.
My advice if you were thinking about a role as an EO would be to gain some experience perhaps with a local forest school. Although it is not a necessary requirement to hold a Forest School Leader Level 3 qualification, I would recommend it. It gives you an in-depth knowledge for both teaching and the woodland.
If you’d like to get in touch with Alice you can email her on email@example.com