North East Scotland Outdoor Learning Group (NESOLG) was founded in March 2012 by a group of outdoor learning partners and became a formal Association in September 2012, with the signing of their constitution. Their main objective being the advancement of the education of all people and organisations in and through the use of the outdoors.
Doug Gooday has a Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology from University College London and a M.Sc. in Environmental Management from Edinburgh University. He is also a Chartered Biologist and a qualified Forest School Leader.
He has had a life-long fascination with the natural world which has lead to careers in biological research, teaching biology at university level and more recently in environmental education. He is also a keen woodworker and enjoys crafting furniture and objects from green wood. These combined interests of biology and woodwork have lead to an interest in using natural crafts as a means of connecting children and adults to the natural world, similar to the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv.
When not at work he enjoys tending his wildlife garden (i.e. weedy!) and likes to spend his holidays watching wildlife in some of the wilder parts of the world.
Aileen Salway teaches the woodland management component of the Forest School training. She has a background as a ranger/naturalist and since 2009 has been a freelance Forest School leader and bat ecologist. She has worked with many schools in Deeside enthusiastically bringing together knowledge of wildlife and bushcraft skills in a way that she hopes will inspire children to relate to, and care about their local environment. She runs a kids nature club at Crathes Castle and is involved with Oudoor and Woodland Learning NE Group (OWLNEG), who deliver Forest School training sessions to teachers.
Julia Mackay has a BSc (Hons) in Countryside Management, a Diploma in Art & Design, is an OCN Level 3 qualified Forest School Leader and tutors the Establishment and Delivery of a Forest School Programme.
Julia Mackay is the Founder and Treasurer of NESOLG and runs her own business, Deeside Forest Schools which was established in 2010 and is based in Durris, Aberdeenshire. Her business provides forest school opportunities and outdoor learning for young people and adults across north east of Scotland.
Julia draws on her wealth of knowledge to support her teaching of NESOLG’s Forest School Programme, which has been gained from not only her environmental background but also her involvement in working with community partners such as Forestry Commission Scotland, Friends of Durris Forests, Outdoor & Woodland Learning North East Group and Scottish Countryside Rangers Association.
Terri Harrison has worked with children and young people for 30 years. She is a qualified teacher and holds a senior management position at Camphill School Aberdeen and has also been a teacher, care worker and staff trainer in Camphill. Terri is one of the founders of Nature Nurture, an early intervention programme for vulnerable and disadvantaged children. She takes a lead role in project management and co-ordination, Nature Nurture sessions, CPD and development and delivery of Nature Nurture training programmes. She qualified as a Forest School leader in 2010. She has delivered outdoor learning courses to practitioners all over the UK and is currently developing a Postgraduate programme in Nature Nurture with Dundee University. Terri has been the tutor for Learning and Development in NESOLG’s Forest School Practitioners Award since it began in 2013.
Grace Banks has lived in Aberdeen for many years, working as a storyteller, singer and outdoor-play facilitator. Her clear delivery and warm interactive style are requested for children or/and adult sessions, events and performances, schools and even prisons. As an author, she has co-written two books and is now working to publish some of her own nature stories in partnership with artist, Kirsty Aitken.
But Grace’s joy is nature in all its forms, and she is passionate about supporting people of all ages to discover and experience the wonder of the green through outdoor play, wildlife sessions, story walks and other events. More recently Grace’s focus has been to support teachers to discover and use the outdoor classroom; providing simple outdoor activities for youngsters to engage in nature to dovetail with their topic. Storytelling and music naturally complement these sessions, enriching the experience for those involved by deepening their understanding and appreciation of the natural world around them.
Grace is also delighted to support ‘Mucky Boots’, Dawn Ewan’s outdoor kindergarten in Maryculter.
Claire qualified as a Forest School Leader in 2014. She leads 2 weekly Early Years Forest School sessions, and works with Nature Nurture. She also runs family and CPD events for the NE Scotland Outdoor & Woodland Group, as well as working freelance in schools and other settings. She holds a BSc in Nursing, and a MSc in Research & Evaluation in Healthcare, gained during a 15-year career in the NHS.
Claire and her family are lucky enough to own a small wood – ideal for play and learning for everyone.