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Camera kids see wood for the trees

Woodland trips teach pupils about photography and wildlife as part of the International Year of Forests. Julia Belgutay reports

Woodland trips teach pupils about photography and wildlife as part of the International Year of Forests. Julia Belgutay reports

Aspiring young photographers from Gatehouse of Fleet Primary in Dumfries and Galloway have been exploring their local woodland with the help of a recreation officer from the Forestry Commission Scotland.

As part of the International Year of Forests (IYF), recreation ranger and keen photographer Lucy Hadley took the 16 primary pupils from P4-7 on five visits into the woodland in Galloway Forest District, where they learned about wildlife and plants while taking pictures on eight digital cameras bought with IYF funding.

Having familiarised themselves with the digital cameras on their first outing, the pupils were soon able to experiment with shots, settings and perspectives.

Julie Middleton, one of two classroom assistants from the school who accompanied the children, says it has been a hugely rewarding experience: "They had probably all been to the forest before, but this maybe made them appreciate it more."

Ms Hadley says: "The main focus of the project was to get the children exploring their local woodland patch in a fun, interactive and memorable way. Using a camera to do this offered them a slightly novel approach but, best of all, it allowed the children to get creative with the local environment around them."

She says all children produced "great images", with one or two revealing a natural talent for photography. Following their excursions, the pupils chose their favourite 48 pictures, which were displayed last month in a photography exhibition at the Mill on the Fleet.

Some of the photographs have also been chosen to dress the Scottish Government Pavilion at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh in the summer and will be exhibited at the Scottish Parliament in October.

The school is now planning to set up its own camera club, which Ms Hadley has agreed to be involved in.

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