If you go down to the woods today...

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MIni adventurers and future nature enthusiasts have been given the chance to explore the local woodland as part of a national campaign.

Youngsters from Stonehaven and the surrounding area have been, and will be, going wild in the woods in a series of classes put on to encouraging children to explore nature.

“Mud Pies” sessions at Dunnottar Woods during January and February will teach children about nature in a fun-filled way whilst exploring the woods through weekly classes.

Children will be collecting natural items such as cones, leaves and twigs to find out about winter wildlife at the same time as having fun.

The sessions help children aged between two and five find out and understand more about the natural world through hands-on, fun activities.

Mandy Tulloch, principal of the education business Mud Pies, who lives in Netherley, said: “January marks the beginning of the Year of Natural Scotland and what better way to celebrate than encouraging young children to get active by having some wild fun outside.

“I’ve put together a programme of fun activities, which encourage children to learn more about the outdoors. We’ll be finding out what grows and lives in the woods, and have fun using the natural environment to explore and play. We’ll also be making lots of mud pies!”

“The activities take place within the Glasslaw area of the wood and I’d also like to allay any fears people may have when visiting on a Friday as the large green tent they see is simply a temporary shelter and not our makeshift home!”

INITIATIVE

The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is a Scottish Government initiative led by EventScotland and VisitScotland and is supported by several strategic partners. It aims to promote Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity, and promote ways in which everyone can enjoy our beautiful landscapes, wildlife and heritage responsibly.

The Mud Pies initiative reflects the current resurgence in interest in the environment and ties into major strands of the new school curriculum, the Curriculum for Excellence, which stresses the importance of outdoor learning. Most importantly, the sessions are a great way for parents or grandparents and their youngsters to spend time outdoors, exploring and discovering as part of a group.

Since its inception in autumn 2009, Mud Pies has worked with hundreds of families in woods within both Aberdeen city and shire. A member of the Scottish Green List 2012, Mud Pies holds an Aberdeenshire Environmental Forum Green Butterfly Award for 2010/2011 and was business category winner of the Aberdeen EcoCity Awards 2010. There are two five-week long sessions running until the end of March, with classes taking place at Dunnottar Woods, Stonehaven.

The second block taking place between Fridays February 15 and March 15. Class times are 10 to 11.30am, repeated again at 1 to 2.30pm.