Cardiff Metropolitan University this week officially launched its new Outdoor Learning Centre, situated within two hectares of mature woodland at the University's Cyncoed Campus.
Co-ordinated by the Cardiff School of Education, the new Outdoor Learning Centre hub is a seven metre wide circular classroom providing a comfortable learning environment, all in the surrounding of the great outdoors adding to the other forest based learning spaces, the log circles and the yurt.
The centre offers a wide range of outdoor learning options, including day courses, workshops, holiday clubs, conferences, and is also an accredited Forest School. The facility will also be the focus of academic research into the benefits of outdoor learning.
Senior Lecturer and qualified Forest School Leader Chantelle Haughton said "Our aims are to offer the ideal environment to maximise learning; to develop understanding of issues, such as sustainability; to nurture new skills and ultimately for all of this to be done through working in the outdoors.
"Over the years the outdoor learning team has gained an excellent reputation for delivering high quality courses and for supporting community-based projects, and we are delighted to now officially launch the Centre."
The centre has been funded by the University's Development Office, who received support from four trusts and foundations, as well as the University's alumni and staff. A total of £49,000 was secured through fundraising, and Cardiff School of Education contributed the remaining shortfall to allow the innovative project to go ahead.
Chantelle said "This tremendous support from external funders is a testimony to their belief in the role Cardiff Met plays in the community, and in the difference we are making in the lives of the children, young people and adults who take part in our outdoor learning programme.
Director of External Engagement, Andrew Walker added "We would like to thank the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust, the Oakdale Trust, the Simon Gibson Charitable Trust, The Waterloo Foundation, and supporters of the Development Fund for the generous support that has made the building possible.
"For many school pupils from urban neighbourhoods, the programme is their first opportunity to explore a woodland environment.
"The building will leave a lasting legacy for the thousands of children and young people who will benefit as new worlds are opened to them: the natural world of the forest, the world of their heritage experienced through storytelling, and the world of higher education.
"The Centre will also introduce the next generation of teachers and children's workers to the benefits of outdoor learning and discovery."