The Outdoor Woodland Learning School CIC (non profit) aims to enable everyone to have
an enjoyable and inspiring experience outdoors in the woods.
Outdoor Woodland Learning School (OWLS CIC) was formed in response to the need in schools and communities to enable children and young people to engage in a positive, challenging and exciting way with our natural environment in North East Scotland. This learning comes through participation in outdoor learning and in enabling young people to be involved in planning and evolving their own learning.
To achieve this we have a team of enthusiastic people all of whom love the outdoor environment as well as enjoying the challenge of working with young people and adults.
The OWLS Team
Heidi Neal – Director
Heidi Neal has a BSc Hons in Countryside Management from the University of Glasgow and a Postgraduate Diploma in Interpretation.
Her passion is in supporting people to connect with nature through direct experience and simple activities so that they can receive the benefits this connection provides.
‘To see the children focus intensely on their activities, smiling from ear to ear through the challenges and setbacks, or emerging from the hammock calm and receptive, ready to start the next part of their adventure is just wonderful.’
Adam previously worked as a support worker for adults with autism and learning difficulties and went on to study countryside management at SRUC.
He feels passionate about the work that OWLS do supporting those with Additional Support Needs and says “I know I would have benefitted from outdoor classes as a child, and even as an adult, I very much appreciate the value of time spent outdoors and understanding my environment better”.
Claire spent many years volunteering outdoors at her children’s school before leaving her seriously scientific job to join the OWLS team.
Brought up roaming her local woodlands and beaches, she enjoys nothing better than being outside. When not running through the countryside, Claire is scuba diving off the Scottish coast.
Claire believes passionately in the mental, physical and emotional benefits of being outdoors, especially for children and adults.
Soozy was brought up in the Granite City and found Forest Schools in her late twenties. Since then it’s been outdoors and play all the way – five years as a Play Development Worker with the Aberdeen Play Forum, a move to a small-holding in Huntly and the arrival of two young welly-stompers…
We all need nature for a multitude of fundamental reasons, from the provision of basic food, shelter and air to the fulfilment of less tangible, but no less vital, needs such as for mental health and wellbeing, as well as our sense of identity and belonging.
Soozy is proud to be part of the creative and dedicated OWLS team, which uses play and the outdoors to nurture children and young people, thus supporting them in developing the skills and inner strength they need to navigate through life.