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Birdwings – QORF Outdoors Queensland Award Winners 2020!

Birdwings Forest School have been named winners in the Queensland Government Nature Play Community award for the 2020 Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation Outdoors Queensland Awards. This award recognises our contribution to the provision of community nature play and green spaces of the Gold Coast, including our WildPlay Adventurers playgroups, our Community Spring Fair, Nature Connection Training and the ecological projects we continually work on as an integrated part of our Bush Club and Little Birdwings Forest Kindy programs.

While we are bursting with pride to receive this acknowledgement, we are most excited about recognition by the Queensland Government for the significance that access to wild nature has for children, families and neighbourhoods. As the Gold Coast’s first Forest School, this understanding is central to each of our programs as well as to our teacher training, and we will always advocate for children’s rights to access local wild nature places.

We want authentic, relaxed, creative and joyful play in wild nature for EVERY child.

Out Birdwings Forest School Community, Spring Fair 2020. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

This award celebrates the support and encouragement of our staff, children, families and neighbourhood, all of whom are an essential part of our Birdwings Forest School community. It is our joy to play with you outside in the Gold Coast’s breath-takingly beautiful wild places!

Our deepest gratitude we offer to Julie and Alan from Frost Farm and Justine from Ngarang-Wal Gold Coast Aboriginal Association Incorporated for the use of your magnificent wild spaces in Kombumerri Country. We are grateful for your vision, openness and the welcome you have extended to us for this essential work. We would also like to recognise our many colleagues in the nature play community. Our relationships are mutually inspiring and it is wonderful that we frequently connect, share and grow together to advocate for access to wild nature as a part of every childhood. We share a very clear vision for childhood and nature.

Together we create deep connections between children and their natural and cultural community.

Community nature play at Birdwings Forest School Spring Fair, 2020. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

Would you like to be involved with Birdwings Forest School?

There are a few ways you could support our business:

  • Donate to our Ecological Projects – this fund is used to purchase the resources required for our ongoing Birdwing Butterfly project and ecological restoration of our Forest School Site.
  • Become a volunteer – Our Adventure Club and Bush Club programs are an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the practice of adventure play and wild nature for supporting childhood wellbeing. Ideal for students studying education, psychology, counselling, nursing and outdoor ed. Conditions apply.
  • Attend our training – check our website and follow our blog or our facebook page to find out when we are offering our teacher training and nature connection training days.
2020 Outdoors Queensland Award video
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Community Spring Fair, 2020

Isn’t it wonderful that nature will always be there to restore a sense of joy and freedom? Despite the interesting events of 2020, we have flourished in our creek and bush play this year, and it was our pleasure to be able to share our joy with our community in our recent Spring Fair. COVID restrictions relaxed just in time for us to welcome our community into our Little Birdwings Forest Kindy site for a morning of Spring Celebration.

Jacob’s Shop. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020

It was an absolutely delightful morning! Our market stalls were run by local businesses and organisations but mostly set up by enterprising children, who put a great deal of energy and thought into their shops.

Pepper’s Play Area. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

Hand-made signs, hand-made products with a focus on creativity, fun, sustainability – and deliciousness. Their excitement was infectious and we loved to see all the happy customers come and visit.

Oscar’s Footy Game. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

Face painting, hand-made crafts, cookies, ice blocks and games put smiles on everyone’s faces, and some well-earned dollars for our Kids-In-Business.

Face-painting by Hunter. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

Locals families, businesses and organisations came to support our Fair. We love that our community value nature play as much as we do.

Delicious BBQ and home made treats. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

Families spread out across our site. They relaxed, enjoyed the sunshine, played with their children and explored the creek.

Families enjoying our forest school site. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

Children played, just as they should, with freedom and confidence in the water and in the trees.

Playing with freedom and joy. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

Simple play, nature play, every child’s right.

Experiencing this moment in nature. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

And our morning finished with stories pulled from a basket. Stories made of cloth and smiles and giggles. Stories for celebrating Spring and all the good things that come when happy people share space together.

Interactive, spontaneous and ecological storytelling. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

The entry tickets and donations from our Spring Fair contributed towards our Ecological Project Fund. Our current project includes planting Pararistolochia praevenosa, Richmond Birdwings Butterfly vines, to protect the habitat of this sensitive species. We are also planning to restore the riparian zone of our forest school site in 2021. This is important work for children to be a part of.

Our Spring Fair was also our Open Day – Big People in our play area! Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

This is our Birdwings Forest School community. A space for families to relax in nature, to have adventures, to learn and grow together and to advocate for children’s access to wild nature, and the protection of local nature spaces. Because that’s where we are meant to be!

This wonderful community – together for nature. Photography by Cam Neville, 2020.

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Spring Fair and OPEN DAY!

Our annual SPRING FAIR and OPEN DAY is on again for Birdwings Forest School!

You are very welcome to come along to join us on our forest school site in Guanaba. If you are curious about forest school, or have always wanted to visit – this is the opportunity! This is a lovely old-fashioned community festival. We will have a tour of our forest kindy site, and market stalls with lots of yummy food, crafts, plants and some workshops. TICKETS to the Spring Fair are $2 per person. Buy your tickets here: https://www.trybooking.com/BFBBC

The funds raised from stall applications and ticket sales will be put towards two main projects: our Richmond Birdwing Butterfly habitat protection project, and our riparian zone restoration project for our Little Birdwings Forest Kindy site.

The funds raised will help us purchase plants and materials needed to maintain a healthy creek environment that will support native plants and animals – and play for the children.

If you are unable to attend on the day, please consider a donation towards our ecological work. Donations can be made here: https://www.trybooking.com/au/donate/birdwingsprojects

We encourage Kids in Business and many of our stalls are set up by enterprising children in our community. Come and support their efforts! You are welcome to apply for a stall at our Spring Fair (kids in business or local businesses with child-centered products that are sustainably produced and presented).

You can apply here: https://forms.gle/Wy526thfYtiZD8MK8

We will give you a guided tour of our forest school site, and answer your questions about how a full day of outdoor play works for toddlers and preschoolers – we see incredible benefits! Come and have a look.

BIRDWINGS FOREST SCHOOL SPRING FAIR

11 OCTOBER 2020, 10AM – 1PM

GUANABA, GOLD COAST

TICKETS HERE: https://www.trybooking.com/BFBBC

All images in this post credited to Cameron Neville, https://www.camneville.com/