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Qualified, experienced and lovers of the great outdoors

Julie Dear

Hi, I am Julie, Farnborough Forest School Leader and director. I started my Forest School journey in May 2021 following my passion for children's education, nature, the environment, conservation, and sustainability.


My background is in primary school education – I am a teacher at heart and my life is devoted to nurturing and developing the children of the future.


I have always enjoyed being outside in nature, but my interest was spurred on with the birth of my own son Lucas. At the age of 2, Lucas watched Blue Planet and become avidly interested in the natural world. Following his interest, I have fostered this with him  - gardening, playing in and exploring the great outdoors, watching numerous documentaries and leading a more sustainable life as a family. Therefore, I have grown in my own nature connectedness and knowledge.

Having graduated, with a BED degree from Homerton College, Cambridge University, in 2002, I have taught across the whole primary age range in my 20 years of teaching.  Within my career, I have also experienced work in nursery schools, volunteering to become professionally familiar with Early Years education.


I have always enjoyed connecting my classes to nature – taking learning outside where possible and educating my classes in flora, fauna and environmental issues.

Following this passion, in Summer 2021, I took on the exciting challenge of the Level 3 Forest School training to become a qualified Forest School Leader - qualifying in March 2021


I am delighted  to be bringing Forest School provision to Farnborough - the town I have lived in my whole life - and Rushmoor, where my teaching career has predominently been  - making a difference to my local community and enhancing school's curricluum.

Nessie bio pic 2

Hiya, I’m Nessie.  I am an Early years Practitioner and a qualified teaching assistant. A couple of years ago I decided to train as a Forest School leader as I see a huge need for this type or learning within our education system and within our children’s play time. As with all forest school and outdoor learning folk, I love being outside whatever the weather. When my children were little, we’d put our wellies on and go splashing in puddles outside our house, much to the amusement of our neighbours!

I am very keen on child led learning, as even as adults, we learn when we enjoy something, when we have an interest in it and when we want to do it. Child led doesn’t mean let them do what ever they want even if it’s unsafe or inappropriate.  Instead, it means notice what they are interested in and go with that learning, teach them self-reliance and self-resilience so they can self-risk assess and build self-confidence. That then feeds into the real world of school, work and social situations.

I met Julie on a knife skills workshop at the Sustainability Centre and discovered that we’d been already been chatting previously about her ideas for a Farnborough based Forest School via social media!

Nessie Wilson




Provide a wide range of opportunities and activities based on the group’s interests and developmental needs.




Takes time after and between sessions to reflect on observations and opportunities provided. Uses this reflection to plan following sessions and undertake own CPD to maximise opportunities for all participants.



Carefully observes learners and identifies what they learn and how they learn.



Constantly learn about the participants. Continue to develop own knowledge of woodland, the environment, skills and activities. Keep up to date with latest research. Connect with other local FSL’s and attend training for continual professional development.



Completing all admin and paperwork requirements as per FSA criteria, legal criteria and for the setting (e.g school). Ensure all paperwork is up to date and relevant.


Risk Taker

Tries new things myself and encourage participants to take safe and supported risks.


Knowledge Provider

Impart own expert knowledge to participants. For example, information about flora and fauna, tools and environment.

Also, to support FS development of any other staff members.


Adaptable & Flexible

Takes advantage of in the moment occurrences and naturally occurring events and uses them to develop learning. 

Is happy to follow the children’s interest and learning by going off on a tangent from session plans and original activities. Adapting activities and the environment/setting in the moment.


Risk Assessor

Look at activities and the environment and decide if they are safe. Ensure benefits out way risk. Look after all participants and ensure everyone is safe.




A personal interest in nature and caring for the environment, therefore can inspire and model this.

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