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Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom
FSC Preston Montford has been an outdoor classroom since 1957 and is a Field Studies Council centre. We deliver curriculum related outdoor education by the experts; from pre-school to Masters level; for infants, school students, undergraduates and enquiring adults with an interest in the natural world. Courses for schools and individuals. A venue for others to use; with bed space for 130, catering facilities and 7 fully equipped teaching and meeting spaces.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A hectic summer at Preston Montford

Successful activities celebrating the 100th anniversary of the British Ecological Society and the FSC 70th birthday celebrations contributed to a busy summer at Preston Montford.
These celebrations allowed the Centre to make progress in engaging with a wide range of learners and strengthen work with partner organisations.
In July co-inciding with the FSC AGM as our FSC Birthday present we hosted an end of year picnic for Condover College which works for young adult students with profound difficulties we also welcomed the local Rainbow group for a pond dipping session on warm summer evening.
The event celebrating the BES centenary was a Family Wildlife Adventure Day that was open to all. After leading an excellent publicity campaign Senior Tutor Jenni Duffell was little nervous about how many people would attend. She had worked with various local groups, such as the Shropshire Mammal Group, who put on displays and demonstrations whilst a combination of Centre Staff and Volunteers lead wildlife activities around the Centre grounds. In the end the balance of numbers was just right- a steady stream of people totalling around 300 came through the Centre and making bird boxes, looking at specimens and talking about wildlife.
Preston Montford summertime
Mrs Duffell was also the key to the success of the first Preston Montford Bio-blitz which set out to record as much as possible about the wildlife of Preston Montford in one day at the end of August. This involved many local and national experts in the fields of botany, ornithology, entymology and mammalology as well as local natural history groups, FSC Preston Montford and Head Office staff as well as members of the public.
In between the two public events Head of Centre Adrian Pickles and FSC Charitable Development Officer Cathy Preston lead a walk and hosted afternoon tea as an FSC members event. Adrian described the work of the Centre and how it is planned to develop the work we do by upgrading the 1950s standard accommodation in the Main House, relocation of offices and developing the estate and grounds. The quality of afternoon tea and cake was highly praised and a very pleasant afternoon was had by all.
These events were all new, but this sort of activity was part of the Centre Action Plan for 2013, so it was good to have two additional reasons for promoting Environmental Understanding to new audiences. Other activities that built on previous experiences included hosting the FSC Darwin Scholarship for young professional workers from around the world, a visit by the Taiwanese Forest Bureau brought by Chris Millican Head of FSC in Pembrokeshire and the second group of FSC Young Darwin Scholars. Our FSC Young Darwin Scholars arrived on the day of the FSC Members Tea Party causing Mr Pickles and Mrs Preston to rely heavily on Sue Redding from FSC Head Office to ensure that both events ran smoothly.
As well as these events there was a full programme of Leisure Learning courses, four Open University courses, specialist photography workshops, providing accommodation and marching space for military bands performing at Shrewsbury Flower Show and hosting the visit of a group of Lacemaking Ladies who enjoy the space cake and freedom the Centre provides.
The collage of photographs in Figure 1 catches most of these activities in some way. There is a small prize for the person who most closely matches the images to the activities mentioned in this article; entries to Adrian Pickles at Adrian.pm@field-studies-council.org  by December 1st.
FSC Preston Montford Public Relations Team