A simple life is a happy one, learning to enjoy, explore and discover whatever your age :)

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Working with Woodside Primary, Aberdeen

Over the last years I’ve worked closely with Woodside School to support their outdoor play and discovery. Last year we made huge leaps in enhancing the areas around the school.

One of the biggest leaps was in March 22 a wee forest was planted by the pupils with support from Nature Scot and aided by Aberdeen City Council Forestry team and Countryside Rangers.

Here’s a film explaining what we hope to see as the trees mature:

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A Tapestry o Life – The Hills An In Atween…onwards

On Wednesday 28th October the premiere of my film was shown, hosted by the Scottish Storytelling Centre as part of the International Storytelling Festival. This has been a milestone in my journey, but this is just the beginning!

You can now watch the film here:

The film has received some positive feedback 🙂

This from UK Film Review – “Grace Banks creates an engaging, almost hypnotic view of the world we frequently neglect. She provides an infinitely more gripping case for conservation than a year’s worth of Extinction Rebellion protests could ever achieve. It never patronises or scolds the viewer for a lack of awareness; only the genuine desire to show what constantly slips our attention. It quite rightly poses the question of who might protect the world in years to come.” Brian Penn


Aberdeen University are applying for a 3- year research project, called Treescapes, and we are consulting as to how I can be a partner in this initiative.

I am also applying for funding to progress the pilot project which was the subject of the film; it ran in Autumn 19 with 4 classes from 4 schools, looking at their local rivers and the life in , on and around them.

I will be working with one school in Aberdeen – Woodside Primary. The project is being developed meantime and will hopefully run from April-May 2021, supporting the school to progress their outdoor and sustainable living habits. It will include exploring their local environment, tree planting, food growing initiatives and other activities. I am consulting with partners to create a valuable and achievable project with which the whole school can engage.

Much of what would have been outdoor investigation with professionals will have to be be viewed online as workshops, but with the hope that classes can still visit their local area to explore, discover and tend the natural world on their doorstep.

As workshops and an audio-visual diary of pupils’ findings and actions are developed, this could become a wonderful blueprint resource for other schools….watch this space!

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Tattie Harvest

The story of the tattie

Once there wis a tattie
Once there wis a tattie
I pit it in the grun (I put it in the ground) 
An fan I wint tae look at it (And when I went to look at it)
A wee bit shoot I foun (A little shoot I found)
The shoot it grew an grew an grew 
An syne became a plant (And then became a plant)
Weel syne I heft't ma tatties (Well then I dug up my potatoes)
An hiv as much as I want! (And I eat as much as I want)

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Chirpy Challenge quiz – which bird is which?

Birds that you’ve seen

Over the past weeks, we’ve talked about 19 different birds and in this post you’ll see pictures of each one.

Your challenge is, can you name them? There are some clues! Or can you give them new names? Let me know how you get on and I’d love to see any drawings you make 🙂

If you need help, check out the Chirpy Challenges page or find the answers at the bottom of this post.

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Oot ma door 8 – the elder tree

The elder tree

This tree is more of a shrub. It can grow to an average height of 10m and is often seen in hedgerows, squidged between other trees such as hawthorn, holly and ash.

In Scotland it’s known as the bourtree and has long been associated with the mystic. If elder trees grew on farmland, it was considered a blessing and it is said that as it can never be struck by lightning, it is good to have one near your home.

In times past every part of the elder would be used for medicinal purposes, including the bark and leaves. More info here:

The wood is strong and was used to make fence posts and tool handles. It is not suitable for burning as it tends to spark.

Elder twigs and branches are easily hollowed out and can be used to make whistles and beads.

Elder – the giving tree

Older and wiser, yet young I may be, drink twice of the riches that come from me – Grace Banks

What drinks can we enjoy from the elder tree?

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