Silver Saplings Overview
Getting out into green spaces can play a vital role in our health and wellbeing, whether that’s gardens, beaches, forests or parks. Our project connects people of all ages with the natural environment and each other, inspiring our participants to be as active as possible whilst learning new skills and making new friends in the environment around them.
Participants are encouraged to reconnect not only with the natural world but with themselves, practicing mindfulness as well as utilising other techniques to help alleviate stress and promote positive transformation. These “Green Prescriptions” can make a huge difference to our quality of life with long-term implications across communities and social services.
Giving something back is also a powerful tool in health and wellbeing and our participants will support one another through volunteering with our other groups and sharing the knowledge and skills learnt on the journey. The NHS have produced a 5 step guide to mental wellbeing which highlights the key aspects of our project, more info can be found on the NHS website.
Silver Saplings is well on the way!
The project’s pilot was launched in March 2019 and is off to a flying start. We have established groups for this phase and are pleased to be working with Andersons Care Home , East End Primary School, Moray SEBN, Aberlour Youth Point and Hanover Housing.
We have built relationships within the local community and other third sector organisations through visiting and partaking in local events, such as the food bank community lunches, the Eden Project’s “Big Lunch”, the Highland Games and the Health and Wellbeing Forum. This has allowed us to engage the community and take on-board their ideas and insights to shape the activities we deliver.
Silver Saplings Care Home programmes
Our enthusiastic instructors deliver a 6 week programme for those living in care homes who are otherwise unable to access the outdoors. The programme encourages participants to regain their confidence and connect with the natural environment and each other. Each week, health, wellbeing and learning is explored through a variety of activities in the grounds of the care home. Residents have been enjoying building bird houses, bug hotels, planting herbs, shrubs and flowers as well as identifying birds and insects. Each resident is given a nature diary and time is spent each week making an entry whether that’s flower pressing, sticking in photos that the residents have taken the week before, drawing or writing. The sessions are rounded-off by listening to music inspired by nature , often evoking fond memories which are shared though conversation over hot drinks and snacks.
Silver Saplings Day Trips
Our day trips offer regular opportunities for older people to visit areas of natural beauty. We create a pop-up café in the great outdoors and share a hot drink, a snack and good company. Wild things! provide all the necessary equipment to stay safe, warm, comfortable and dry whilst our experienced instructors deliver a wide variety of nature- themed activities such as tree & plant ID, bird watching, pond-dipping, willow weaving, botanical drawing and much more. In addition, all our activities touch upon the importance of health and well-being in our lives and ways in which we can improve this for ourselves and each other. Recently we have been rock pooling in Hopeman, identifying plants at Brodie Castle, admiring the bluebells at Burgie Arboretum and bird watching in Lossiemouth.
“You’re not just looking at four walls. It’s getting that push to get out. It builds your stamina up and makes you feel a lot better. It takes the loneliness away.” Sheila
It’s definitely improved [my health], certainly. I can now walk better than I used to be able to. I was stuck in a house, not well at all and I got out! And luckily I got some lovely sunshine too. I thoroughly enjoy the outings.” Janice
We know from experience that our participants feel less lonely and more connected. Studies have shown that spending time outside can also reduce stress and we intend to prove that spending time in nature is good for your health and the community!
Intergenerational Community Roots
All of our Silver Saplings: Wild and Well programmes host days where generations are welcomed together to share their experiences. Little Saplings and Wild & Well participants invite grandparents or older relatives whilst our Silver Saplings integrate with school groups. Participants from groups will also be encouraged to spend a fun families activity day with us down on the beach or forest for a campfire cook up and a big clean!
“Wild things! is excited to be at the forefront of this innovative project. We’re seeing the positive impact that green prescriptions can have and the potential benefits for individuals, communities and the environment is huge.” Luke Strachan, CEO
Little Saplings & Wild and Well
Primary aged children accompany us on a six week programme of Forest Schools or Coastal Classrooms where they learn to explore their health and wellbeing though informative, exciting and active sessions outdoors. Each week we delve into nature and compare how and why we need things to survive and how people and nature can work together for mutual benefit.
Our Wild & Well teenage groups also engage in a six week course where they develop skills in bushcraft, environmentalism and leadership. Each session helps to promote self-awareness and aims to build confidence whilst providing volunteering opportunities to strengthen and embed the skills they have learnt for the future.
Coming Soon… Outdoor Leadership Training for Carers
Our outdoor Leadership Training for Carers Course is in the planning stages. This accredited training course will be available next year to paid and unpaid carers, enabling carers to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver outdoor sessions to those they care for.